A Literary Festival in a Weekend

Saturday 16 May,From 3.30pm & Sunday 17 May, from 12.15pm

Caroline Criado-Perez


Red in tooth and claw, nature doesn’t give in easily, and nor some do humans – meet writers who fight hard for their beliefs, battle against astounding odds and who equip others to stand their ground.

How to Speak Money
with John Lanchester


They say that knowledge is power. Yet few of us have knowledge of the most powerful language of all – money. Join John Lanchester, bestselling author of Capital and Whoops! as he sets out to decode our global language and, in so doing, challenges the power that this knowledge gives to the economic elite. Learn about not only high-frequency trading and the World Bank, but also the secrets of the jargon, and often nonsense, that we are faced.


The Honours
with Tim Clare


It’s 1935, and war is looming. Thirteen year old Delphine Venner is determined to uncover the secrets of the elite society that has taken in her mother and unstable father. Her quest brings her face to face with darkness and the discovery that in war, man and monster can become horrifyingly indistinguishable.

Join the ever-engaging Tim Clare as he launches his new work The Honours, a Young Adult/Adult crossover work. A signature Tim Clare event, expect not only a reading, discussion and questions but also an amusing presentation on 1930s “monsters”. Dive into a strange and at times disturbing world of darkness and humour.


The Tooth & Claw Debate: Raptors
Featuring Mark Cocker, Mark Avery, Jake Fiennes and Robin Page


A debate about humans, and our engagement with the natural environment.

Glimpsing a raptor on the wing brings a lump of excitement to the throat of many, but to some who manage shooting estates they are voracious predators, diminishing game reserves and destroying livelihoods. Despite legal protection, such birds are often shot and poisoned  - should we be protecting the magnificent apex predators of the avian world at all costs? Or is the conservation lobby oversimplifying the debate, focussing on emotive issues without sensitivity to the scientific complexities of land management?

Join Mark Cocker (author and naturalist), Mark Avery (writer & conservationist) Jake Fiennes (Estate Manager, Raveningham) and Robin Page (farmer, writer and Chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust) for this Tooth & Claw Debate – a Question Time for nature lovers that will guarantee to stir up strong emotions on both sides.


Masha Gessen
The Harriet Martineau Lecture


Join celebrated journalist, author and activist Masha Gessen for the third annual Harriet Martineau Lecture exploring freedom of speech and investigative journalism.

Masha Gessen is world-renowned for her outspoken opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was at one stage ‘probably the only publically out gay person in the whole of Russia’. Her latest book is Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot.

Following in the footsteps of Kate Mosse and Ali Smith in honouring Harriet Martineau - Norwich’s 19th Century radical thinker and the world’s first female journalist - hear Gessen speak, ask your questions and celebrate freedom of expression and investigative journalism through a feminist lens.



Revel in the creation of the written word as we meet Norwich’s own inventor of words, join Neel Mukherjee and Rose Tremain to discuss the creative process, and participate in the National Conversation by delving into the controversial world of Amazon, and the civil war for books.

All events are individually priced, or you can buy a Day Ticket for all five events for just £37

Second Life
with SJ Watson


Get set for an hour of thrilling words as the master of suspense, SJ Watson, introduces you to his latest novel, hot on the heels of his bestselling debut Before I Go To Sleep, adapted into a film starring Nicole Kidman in 2014.

Second Life once again ramps up the tension as Watson delivers a psychological thriller full of twists and turns. Hear him read and talk about what it is that makes his novels such irresistible page-turners. You’ll get to ask your questions, have your book signed and indulge in an hour of the unexpected.


Do It Like A Woman... And Change The World
with Caroline Criado-Perez


Come and hear from one of the most vocal and tenacious campaigners of our generation and celebrate the world’s pioneering women. Caroline Criado-Perez, named one of The Guardian’s People of the Year, is the woman who took on the Bank of England, Twitter and the criminal justice system. Presenting from her book Do it Like a Woman, hear Caroline tell her story of campaigning for women’s rights and dealing with cyber backlash. From the female fighter pilot in Afghanistan who escaped from the Taliban to the anti-FGM campaigners in the UK, come and rejoice in private heroisms and public triumphs in this inspiring manifesto for women everywhere.


The Thomas Browne Affair
with Hugh Aldersey-Williams


Loved by W.G. Sebald, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, and with a prominent statue in the heart of Norwich, Thomas Browne is a man you should get to know. Join writer Hugh Aldersey- Williams as he shares the stories of Norwich’s most remarkable resident, from his book The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century. A doctor, scientist, botanist, naturalist and theologist, Browne was a polymath credited for the invention of hundreds of words (only Shakespeare catalogued more) including ‘medical#‘suicide’, ‘exhaustion’, ‘hallucination’ and ‘coma’. Browne was a firm believer in the power of stories; prepare to be mesmerised by his own.


Writing Families
with Neel Mukherjee and Rose Tremain


Internationally renowned author Rose Tremain and 2014 Booker Prize shortlisted Neel Mukherjee explore writer relationships and the delicate art of writing the family. Both Tremain and Mukherjee are lauded for their colourful portrayal of family and the characters found within, with Tremain herself describing Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others as‘an outstanding novel: compelling, compassionate and complex, vivid, musical and fierce.’ Tremain’s bestselling novels have won many awards, including the Orange Prize for Women’s Fiction (The Road Home) and the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence), whilst Restoration was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1989.

Hear them read from their work and discuss how relationships with fellow writers can inspire and shape the creative process. Ask your questions, get your book signed and find out just how delicate family life can be.


The National Conversation: Amazon & The Civil War For Books
featuring Erica Wagner, Andrew O’Hagan, Isabelle Grey and Ellah Wakatama Allfrey


Join the debate as The National Conversation on literature returns to its home town to discuss the raging civil war in literature and the role of Amazon in our changing literary landscape.

The world of literature is divided: traditional publishers pitted against Amazon, with readers and writers joining in on either side. And in the middle of it all, those who just care about great writing.

Hear Erica Wagner give a provocation and debate this volatile subject with Andrew O’Hagan, one of our generation’s most exciting and most serious chroniclers of contemporary Britain, writer Isabelle Grey and editor, critic and broadcaster Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.

Can the competing visions for literature exist alongside each other in a healthy artistic marketplace? Or is this a game of thrones with only one outcome: win or die? Join the National Conversation and have your say.


City of Literature is presented in association with

Writers’ Centre Norwich
Writers’ Centre Norwich

UNESCO City of Literature
UNESCO City of Literature