Books · Events

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2016- City of Literature

Tickets have gone on sale for this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival, and some great authors have made it onto the line-up of gigs, plays, exhibitions, performances and garden parties! Check out some of their work in advance to get in the festive spirit:


The Norwich Playhouse hosts the premiere of Fierce Light on Friday 13th May. A collaboration between the NNF and the Writers Centre Norwich, Fierce Light commemorates the poets of the First World War and examines the impact of war on literature worldwide. An exhibition which combines poetry, photography and film will be on show at NUA’s East Gallery throughout the festival, but the event at the Playhouse offers the chance to hear the poems live from their authors: Costa award-winner Jo Shapcott, Daljit Nagra, who famously retold the Ramayana, and Simon Armitage, who you may remember from your GSCE Anthology! You can find poems by Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves and Edward Thomas in the Faber Book of War Poetry (BOOK ZONE 821.91 BAK). If you’d like to experience Simon Armitage outside of your English classroom, we recommend Kid (NORFOLK HOUSE 821.91 ARM). The poem in the title is a monologue by Batman’s sidekick Robin, who has become seriously disillusioned:

“I’m not playing ball boy any longer

Batman, now I’ve doffed that off-the-shoulder

Sherwood-Forest-green and scarlet number

for a pair of jeans and crew-neck jumper;

now I’m taller, harder, stronger, older.”


In Kid, sidekick Robin decides it’s time for him to be the hero

If you missed performance poet Francesca Beard at Latitude Festival, you can catch an updated version of her solo show A Lie at the Norwich Playhouse on Monday 16th May. According to her website, the idea for A Lie came to Francesca “in the lyrics of a David Bowie song, belted out by a tiny unicorn, sliding down a rainbow”.  We suspect she may not be telling the whole truth… The NNF website has named Beard the “Queen of British Performance Poetry”, but if you’re still not sure if poetry’s for you, take her advice: “The only people who categorically would not get this show are people who have never told a lie. If you’re that person who has never told a lie, you are a liar, so, yeah, you can come.”

Beard was born in Malaysia, and in 2005 she collaborated with six other writers on a project called White Open Spaces. A theatre company invited poets to stay with them in the countryside and investigate the claims of politician Trevor Phillips, who believed that Britain was divided by a “cultural apartheid”. They used quotes from their meetings with local people to devise monologues which were performed at Edinburgh and the South Bank before going on a tour around village halls. You can find the script for White Open Spaces in the BOOK ZONE 822.91 BEA.


Malaysian born, London based poet Francesca Beard appears calm on stage as she performs poetry in 2012

While Renton, Spud and Sickboy were dosed on heroin, Francis Begbie was kicking and screaming his way through the pubs and football clubs of Edinburgh. 20 years have passed since Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting was published, and in his latest book The Blade Artist Begbie reappears as Jim Francis, a successful (if controversial) painter living in California. When his son is killed, Begbie returns to Scotland and his old friends, who expect him to take his revenge. Back at home, his wealthy wife discovers something that suggests her husband hasn’t left his violent ways behind… The Blade Artist is due to be published on 7th April, so you’ll have some time to read it before Irvine Welsh appears in conversation at the Adnams Spiegeltent on 24th May. The first sequel to Trainspotting, Porno, will be released on film in 2017, with director Danny Boyle at the helm and actors Ewan McGregor, Kelly MacDonald and Jonny Lee Miller ready to reprise their roles. You can expect Welsh to divulge some inside information! You can find the movie Trainspotting in the BOOK ZONE 823.91 WEL, alongside Welsh’s novel Ecstasy; the original Trainspotting is at NORFOLK HOUSE and the recent movie Filth, based on Welsh’s novel, is in the DVD LOBBY.


Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting is written phonetically, so we recommend reading it out loud!

Finally on 25th May, a double-bill, with UEA Chancellor Rose Tremain and historian/author Alison Weir. Rose’s novels cover the 1860s Gold Rush, 17th Century London and the court of a Danish King obsessed with Witchcraft; her upcoming novel The Gustav Sonata is set in the 1930’s and is due for release on 16th May, just over a week before her appearance in Norwich. Alison Weir has written biographies of some of history’s most famous women: Eleanor of Aquitane, Isabella of France, Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. Her upcoming novel The True Queen is the first in a series of six, each telling the story of one of Henry VIII’s six wives. We predict that at least five will have unhappy endings… You can find The Colour, Restoration, The Road Home and Music and Silence by Rose Tremain in the BOOK ZONE 823.91 TRE. Children of England by Alison Weir (BOOK ZONE 942.05 WEI) is the story of Henry VIII’s heirs- you can read about the sickly Edward Tudor and his sister “Bloody” Mary before moving onto Elizabeth the Queen (BOOK ZONE 942.055092 WEI), which starts when Elizabeth claims the throne in 1558.


Rose Tremain in a previous appearance at Norwich Cathedral

Click here to apply to volunteer at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. There is also an opportunity for young people with physical differences and learning differences to perform in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. If you are taking part in the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, please let us know!

Tickets for all of the events listed above are on sale here– just follow the link to book online via the Theatre Royal. A limited number of tickets are available at £7.50 for under-25s. You can follow the Festival on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.



Van Pelt, T “Batman and Robin” “1969” accessed at on 08/03/2016

Albury, S POEM! 2012 accessed at on 08/03/2016

aparkersmith Trainspotting accessed at on 08/03/2016

Writers Centre Norwich Writing Families with Neel Mukherjee and Rose Tremain accessed at on 08/03/2016




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s