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New national centre for writing gets green light as historic building's development gets funding

PUBLISHED: 20:56 22 December 2016 | UPDATED: 23:08 22 December 2016

Dragon Hall Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dragon Hall Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Norwich is set to become the national centre for writing after a final pot of funding towards the project was confirmed.

Arts Council England today announced their decision to award £789,434 from National Lottery sources to support the vision that confirm’s the city’s place at the forefront of writing in the UK.

The funding is effectively the green light for Writers’ Centre Norwich to develop the historic Dragon Hall, on King Street, which will become the home of the National Centre for Writing.

Chris Gribble, chief executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich, said: “We are delighted to have received this news.”

In 2010 Writers’ Centre Norwich announced a vision to create the country’s first national centre for writing, and their cause was backed by major writers including JM Coetzee, Margaret Atwood and Anthony Horowitz.

The group has since secured grants from the Arts Council England - and this piece of funding was the last required.

It will give Writers’ Centre Norwich the finances to develop Dragon Hall, and the new facilities will include educational and community spaces, enhanced office space, a refurbished public performance arena seating up to 120 people, and residential space for visiting writers.

Writers’ Centre Norwich say the project will be completed by April 2018.

Mr Gribble said: “The next chapter of Dragon Hall’s history as The National Centre for Writing looks set to be an exciting one and we’re looking forward to working with our funders, partners, neighbours and the wider world of literature to create something quite unique.

“In 2017, we will reveal ways in which individuals and companies can get involved in supporting the project, and receive lasting recognition for that support within the very fabric of the new building.”

Norwich is England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, a status awarded in 2012.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, added: “It is only fitting that England’s first Unesco City of Literature should be home to the new National Centre for Writing.

“Norwich City Council is very proud to have worked with Writers’ Centre Norwich on this ambitious project and delighted that the new centre will be housed in one of our most iconic buildings.”

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Email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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