As you may know, Norwich is the first English city to be awarded the UNESCO City of Literature and one of only six cities in the world with the permanent accolade. The award was given in recognition of Norwich’s sensational literary past, from the first battlefield dispatch (1075) to the first woman published in English (Julian of Norwich – C15th). The city is also home to the largest concentration of published dissenters, revolutionaries and social reformers (C18th /19th ) including Tom Paine and the 30 million bestseller, Anna Sewell, the UK’s first City of Refuge (2006) for persecuted writers and to cap it all, the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library, which opens its door to by far the largest number of visitors and users in the UK.
Norfolk has some interesting ties to North America that were highlighted in a recent exhibition at The Archive Centre in Norwich , which ran until just last month. From now until US Thanksgiving weekend in November, festivals, family and children’s events, talks, films and musical performances will mark the historical ties between Norfolk and America.
- Key Connections include:
- Some of America’s first settlers in the 17th century came from Norfolk, including the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed on the Mayflower
- John Rolfe from Heacham in King’s Lynn married Pocahontas, who visited England with him in 1616.
- Thomas Paine, who was born and raised in Thetford, went on to become an influential pro-independence writer and revolutionary in America.
- The Friendly Invasion, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, saw around 50,000 United States 8th Army Air Force personnel stationed in the county at any one time during World War Two. Film actor Jimmy Stewart had a distinguished record with the USAAF at Buckenham and Tibenham, flying numerous missions deep into occupied Europe.
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