(From left to right) Kamila Shamsie, Shara McCallum, Anthony Joseph and Esther Freud.
The University of East Anglia (UEA) celebrates ten years since Norwich was named as England’s first UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) City of Literature with a line-up of award-winning international writers at this autumn’s UEA Live.
Norwich has been a city of literature for over 900 years, a place for writers and readers of all kinds. In 1395, Julian of Norwich was the first woman to write a book in English: her Revelations of Divine Love contains the famous comforting phrase: ‘all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well’.
This autumn, UEA Live welcomes a cast of internationally renowned writers - Kamila Shamsie, Anthony Joseph, Shara McCallum, and Esther Freud - to share their creativity, passions, and perspectives with local audiences.
UEA Live launches on Wednesday 5 October with bestselling Pakistani-British author Kamila Shamsie, whose book Home Fire won the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Kamila will introduce her new novel - Best of Friends - a moving and surprising story of a lifelong friendship and Britain today, about power and how we use it, and about what we owe to those who’ve loved us the longest. The book was chosen as a Fiction Highlight for 2022 by the Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman and Observer.
Next up on Thursday 10 November, UEA Live welcomes Anthony Joseph, a Trinidad-born poet, novelist and musician, and Shara McCallum, a Jamaica-born poet. Anthony Joseph's new poetry collection, Sonnets for Albert, interrogates his complex relationship with his late father. Through the melodic calypso sonnet form, Joseph addresses loss and longing, masculinity and fatherhood. Shara McCallum’s latest collection, No Ruined Stone, is a captivating verse sequence rooted in the re-imagined life of 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns. In 1786, Burns considered migrating to Jamaica to work on a slave plantation, and this poetic work in monologue imagines what might have happened had he gone.
The season draws to a close on Wednesday 7 December with Esther Freud, renowned British novelist. Esther’s first novel, Hideous Kinky, was made into a film starring Kate Winslet, and her last novel, Mr Mac and Me, won Best Novel in the East Anglian Book Awards. She will discuss her ninth novel, I Couldn’t Love You More, a multi-generational story moving between London and Ireland in the 1930s, 1960s and 1990s - her most biographical novel to date.
Ian McEwan was the first student on UEA’s Creative Writing MA course – and will be returning as part of the ten-year celebrations in an event hosted by the National Centre for Writing. UEA’s list of eminent alumni also includes the 2017 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Sir Kazuo Ishiguro OBE, and Margaret Atwood and Ali Smith have also come to the city as UNESCO City of Literature Visiting Professors.
In 2012, Professor Chris Bigsby, former Literary Festival director said: “Along with novelists, playwrights and poets, we have played host to politicians, journalists, biographers and scientists, at the beginning of their careers or as they near the end, some retaining long-term relationships with the University. There is a reason Norwich was selected as a UNESCO City of Literature: this is one of them.”
Prof Jean McNeil, UEA’s Director of Creative Writing, said: “In 2012, UEA supported the successful bid for Norwich to become England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, joining a prestigious network of cities worldwide, and some of the greatest writers of today have lived in Norwich and studied at UEA. The University prides itself on being the place where literature lives, proven true by its alumni.
“It’s wonderful to be able to mark this anniversary by welcoming such an eclectic and talented group of writers and speakers to Norwich for this year’s UEA Live festival, showing that, ten years on, the city has lost none of its spark, and its capacity to host some of the great thinkers of today.”
The UEA Live: Autumn 2022 line-up in full is:
Wednesday 5 October
Kamila Shamsie: Best of Friends
Bestselling author Kamila Shamsie, whose book Home Fire won the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction, introduces her new novel - Best of Friends - in conversation with author Sharlene Teo.
Thursday 10 November
Anthony Joseph and Shara McCallum: Poetry and the Reimagined Life
UEA Live welcomes Anthony Joseph, a Trinidad-born poet, novelist and musician, and Shara McCallum, a Jamaica-born poet, in conversation with Prof Alison Donnell.
Wednesday 7 December
Esther Freud: I Couldn’t Love You More
Renowned British novelist Esther Freud joins us to discuss love, motherhood and the relationships in her ninth novel, I Couldn’t Love You More, with author Juliane Pachico.
The events run from Wednesday 5 October to Wednesday 7 December with tickets on sale now at £10 per ticket or £6 for students. Season tickets are available at £27 full price or £24 concessions, and digital season tickets at £15, for all 3 events. Book and Ticket Bundles are available in collaboration with Waterstones. To book, visit the UEA Live website.
All events will be live in-person at the UEA Lecture Theatre from 7pm-8pm. There will also be author Q&As and the opportunity to buy signed copies of the authors’ books.
For more information on UEA Live, and to book tickets, visit the UEA Live website.