We've been very fortunate to welcome eight writers-in-residence to Norwich UNESCO City of Literature this year. Below, we recap on their experiences living in the city, in their own words.

Han Yujoo, Korea

July to September

Han Yujoo debuted in 2003 when her short story “To the Moon” won Literature and Society’s New Writers Award. In 2009 she also won the prestigious Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, which could be likened to the National Book Award, and whose past recipients include the Man Asian Prize-winner Kyung-sook Shin. Her books include the short story collections To the Moon (2006), Book of Ice (2009), and My Left Hand the King and My Right Hand the King’s Scribe (2011), as well as the novel The Impossible Fairytale (2013).

"I arrived on a Monday. I unpacked roughly and went out to get something to eat; the town was as quiet as a graveyard. It would have been around 6pm, and though it was still bright out, the streets were almost deserted. Wandering the maze of alleyways, I saw countless beautiful facades. There were churches and the cathedral. The scent of grass was in the air. There was a narrow river. A footpath." Read more >>

This residency was supported by Arts Council Korea.


Paik Gahuim, Korea

July to September

Paik Gahuim made his literary debut in 2001 when he won the Seoul Shinmun New Writer’s Award. He is the author of the short story collections, The Cricket Is Crying, Manager Jo’s Trunk, and The Hint is “Brother-in-law,” as well as the novel, Naphthalene.

"In this small city whose population was no more than 130,000, the library was the most grand, splendid building. In the afternoons sitting in the library was really great. All through the afternoon I sat there and wrote something, sometimes read a book, and did some people-watching. I had a leisurely coffee in a cafe and read a book. Sometimes I even sat gazing at an event or performance happening in the square in front of the library." Read more >>

This residency was supported by Arts Council Korea.


Polly Barton, Japan

August

Polly Barton grew up in West London and read philosophy at university. Since winning the inaugural JLPP International Translation Competition in 2012, she has translated a variety of fiction including Tomoka Shibasaki’s Spring Garden published by Pushkin Press, and Nao-cola Yamazaki and Misumi Kubo for the Keshiki series. In 2016 she was awarded the Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize, and in 2017 given a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant to translate Misumi Kubo’s The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky. She currently lives in Osaka.

"I don’t even have to leave my room to experience the park. Now the sounds of its Saturday rise up to greet me at my desk: coaches reversing back into their allotted space in the diagonal parking lots, crows belly-laughing in slow motion, a taiko troupe practicing drums, school kids practicing baseball, pre-school kids practicing screaming, and a park van broadcasting a frantic jingle as it crawls along the path, interspersed with a message in Japanese – a van is passing, please watch out, a van is passing…"  Read more >>


Aoko Matsuda, Japan

August

Aoko Matsuda, born in 1979, has published four collections of stories. English translations of her work include “Photographs Are Images” and “Love Isn’t Easy When You Are The National Anthem” (trans. Jeffrey Angles) in Monkey Business, “Smartening Up” (trans. Polly Barton) in Granta, and “Planting” published as part of the Waseda Bungaku Japan Earthquake Charity Literature project (trans. Angus Turvill). She has also translated into Japanese Karen Russell’s St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and Amelia Gray's AM/PM.


Debby Lukito, Indonesia

October

Debby Lukito Goeyardi is a children and teens book author who has published several books. Waktunya Cepuk Terbang (It’s Time for Cepuk to Fly) won the 2016 Samsung KidsTime Author’s Award in Singapore and was displayed in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017. She focuses more on serving the community through literacy and social activities by empowering her roles as chairperson of KPBA Bali (Kelompok Pencinta Bacaan Anak / The Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature – Bali Branch) and founder of Kanaditya Community. 

"I fell in love with Norwich once I stepped on its roads and breathed its fresh and pure air. I fell in love with the warmth of the people once they greeted me. I met many lovely persons whom I will hold in my heart dearly." Read more >>

Residency funded by the Indonesian Book Committee.


Avianti Armand, Indonesia 

October

Avianti Armand is an architect, curator, writer and poet. In 2008 she received the Indonesian Association of Architects Award for her “Kampung Rumah” (Rumah Kampung). She received the award of Best Kompas Best Short Story in 2009, the Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2011 for her collection of poems, Women Whose Names Were Erased, and recently published a collection of poems titled A Book About Space. She has also written several architecture books, one of which is a collection of essays The Other Architecture.

Residency funded by the Indonesian Book Committee.


Nuril Basri

October

Nuril Basri is an Indonesian writer. His works, including SUNYI, ENAK, ROMANTIS, and DOSA, have been translated and published in Malaysia. RATU and Bukan Perjaka (Not A Virgin, translated by John H. McGlynn) are soon to be published in English. 

 

"Norwich has inspired me with its authenticity. The churches, old buildings, the library, the slightly gloomy atmospheric city that weirdly calming me. The people, their smiles, politely saying “sorry”." Read more >>

Residency funded by the Indonesian Book Committee.


Angel Igov 

October

Angel Igov is an Bulgarian writer and translator. His first novel A Short Tale of Shame (2011) won the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation contest for writers in English translation. He has also published two collections of short stories. The first, Road Encounters (2002) won the Southern Spring Award for debut in fiction (2003), and the second, K. (2006) was nominated for the Elias Canetti Award (2007). 

"A writer's residence is basically about two things: time and place. Because time is arguably the single most precious resource in the actual process of writing, the opportunity to leave all other responsibilities behind for a while is cherished by authors, especially those of us who do other things and have other guises as well." Read more >>

Angel's creative residency in Norwich is a project of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation implemented in cooperation with the Writers’ Centre Norwich, the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and the British Centre for Literary Translation. The project was made possible with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in London.

 

SAVE FOR LATER