The 'City of Stories' - a new campaign to share your passion for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:35 18 August 2014

Getting behind Norwich Stories, left to right Nick Bond from Visit Norwich, Jayne Raffles of the Library restaurant and Stefan Gurney of Norwich BID. Photo : Steve Adams

Getting behind Norwich Stories, left to right Nick Bond from Visit Norwich, Jayne Raffles of the Library restaurant and Stefan Gurney of Norwich BID. Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich is a city full of stories - and today we are backing an appeal for people to share those tales and help champion this wonderful place.

The new lighting at the Norwich Cathedral Cloisters, enhancing the historic architecture. Picture: Denise BradleyThe new lighting at the Norwich Cathedral Cloisters, enhancing the historic architecture. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Evening News has teamed-up with the people behind a new 12-week campaign called City of Stories which attempts to collate in words and pictures all that is great about the city.

Over the next three months people will be challenged to draw upon their literary skills and gather their thoughts on a range of city related subjects.

Each week there will be a different theme for people to write about, including food, Norwich at night, iconic architecture, music and family activities.

Visit Norwich, which is running the campaign, and the Evening News, will then collate and share that work with the aim of tempting more 
visitors into Norwich, as well as enthusing locals to get out and enjoy what is on their doorstep.

How you can get involved

As part of the first week of the campaign the theme is ‘Through The Eye of the Beholder’.

We want to know where or what is your favourite place in Norwich – and why?

Alternatively simply tell us what it is about Norwich that makes it so special, through your eyes?

You can write as little or as lot as you like around this question – and if you have photos to go with it please send them as well. There are several ways you can take part.

You can write to Sam Russell, City of Stories Campaign, Norwich Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich. NR1 1RE or email

Alternatively tweet your stories using the #cityofstories

Or log on to to submit your attempt, read other people’s or find out about the events that are going on.

Nick Bond, head of tourism at Visit Norwich, explained that the project was based around the city’s strong literary traditions – as the only UNESCO City of Literature in England and home to the acclaimed UEA Creative Writing course.

“We’re going to create a beautiful compendium of Norwich’s very own story online, using social media and a campaign website – as well as 
holding events in the city during the life of the campaign,” he said.

“We’re even creating a writing competition for people who love writing and love the city.

“It’s an exciting and creative campaign which will really promote our wonderful city in all its glory.”

Weekly chance to win great prizes

Competitions to win themed experience packages in Norwich will be run each week. To enter, people must sign up to the Visit Norwich newsletter.

All prizes will be supplied by the campaign’s sponsors, which include the Theatre Royal, Norwich Cathedral, The Library Bar and Grill, The Writers’ Centre, First Group, Killamonjambo and Abellio Greater Anglia, which will also be covering rail travel costs for winners.

A further short story challenge will be issued at campaign launch, which will offer the campaign’s grand prize.

Details on how to enter will be available on City of Stories beermats, which will be distributed to pubs and hotels across Norwich.

The City of Stories campaign will launch today with a gala event to be held at The Library Bar and Grill on Guildhall Hill with a night of entertainment and a set from hotly-tipped Norwich funk band Killamonjambo

As part of the campaign, aimed to boost tourism and cement Norwich’s reputation as a worthwhile place to visit, a host of events will be held across the city, relevant to each theme.

Free events will include readings, workshops and guided walks at places such as the Book Hive independent book shop, Jarrolds, Cinema City and at a dedicated City of Stories Corner at the Forum.

Professional writers and storytellers will also be commissioned to write their own work and there will be poetry written on beer mats and short stories about Norwich posted online.

Businesses from across the city are sponsoring the 12-themed weeks, along with principal backers Norwich Business Improvement District (BID).

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID, said member businesses were passionate about promoting the city centre, and viewed City of Stories as a golden opportunity to “shout about the city on a local and national level”.

He hoped the digital focus of the campaign would start conversations about what people love about the city, and help drive up visitor numbers.

“We’ve really been able to highlight the unique aspects of the city, and on a national level there are none that have that offer of literature that we do,” he added. “It’s a strong offer and gets the message out.”

He felt literature was Norwich’s “unique selling point”.

David Powles, assistant editor (editor digital) of the Evening News, said: “As a paper and website we are all about championing everything that is so great about the city of Norwich – and this campaign chimes perfectly with that mantra.

“Hopefully the people of Norwich will get behind the campaign and come up with some creative ideas and stories.”

Content submitted as part of the campaign will appear on the special City of Stories website, at and in the pages of this paper every Monday.

The theme for the first week is Through the Eye of the Beholder, putting Norwich’s visual arts scene, film, performance art, fine art and theatre community in the spotlight.

The campaign will be officially launched tonight. See tomorrow’s paper for a full report.

There will be a theme per week over the 12-week run of City of Stories. They are...

Chapter one (August 18): Through the Eye of the Beholder

Chapter two (August 25): Spires and Ziggurats

Chapter three (September 1): Feasting in the Fine City

Chapter four (September 8): The City Built on Books

Chapter five (September 15): Independent Norwich

Chapter six (September 22): The Rhythm of the City

Chapter seven (September 29): Under the Moonlight

Chapter eight (October 6): The Baxters go to Norwich

Chapter nine (October 13): All Hail the Ale

Chapter 10 (October 20): A Night in the City of Spirits

Chapter 11 (October 27): Secrets and Surprises

Chapter 12 (November 3): A Norwich Christmas Carol

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