women’s contemporary short prose
Poster for City of Women

Words and Women launches its latest anthology of the best and boldest in women’s contemporary short prose with an exhibition of prints inspired by the winning stories, noonday readings, a live installation, and a city-centre performance event with red umbrellas.

Between the 7th and 11th of March 2017, Words and Women occupy Nunns Yard Gallery in St. Augustine’s Street in collaboration with Print to the People. The Norwich-based print collective has created original artwork in response to the national and regional prize winners.

Deborah Arnander
Deborah Arnander

This year, Deborah Arnander won the new national prize for women writers over 40 for her rich, complex short story The Wife, and Melissa Fu won the regional prize for women living or working in the East of England with her elegiac non-fiction piece Suite for My Father.

Melissa Fu
Melissa Fu

The exhibition, These Stories Are Like Paths, is named after a line in The Wife. Open from 11-4.30 pm every day, there will be a reading of a story from the anthology at 12 noon on the 7th, 9th and 10th.  On Wednesday 8th March Print to the People will host a drop-in workshop, free to all, and on Saturday, 11th March, artist Clare Jarrett will talk about the process of creating an installation in Gallery 13A, close to Nunns Yard, over the week, inspired by the two winning stories.

On International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8th, City of Women, a performance event staged by Chalk Circle Theatre Company in the heart of Norwich is out and about between 12 noon and 3 pm. Inspired by Michelle Obama’s exhortation, that ‘if they go low, we go high,’ – six women have been invited to select a piece of inspirational text written by a woman which they will busk on the street. It is a striking visual performance of women in black with red umbrellas moving from place to place. The women will be collecting for ECPAT UK, a charity campaigning against child-trafficking and transnational child exploitation.

Finally, on Friday 10th March between 6-8 pm, Words and Women launch their latest anthology published by Unthank Books.  Our compere, Guardian award-winning stand up Louisa Theobald will introduce readings by Deborah Arnander, Melissa Fu, Kate Harmond Allan, Anna Metcalfe and Marianne Picton. This year’s guest judge Naomi Wood, author of The Godless Boys and Mrs. Hemingway, will talk about judging the prose competition and selecting the stories for the anthology. It is an Eventbrite ticket-only but a fabulous night with a strong slate of voices, and a donations bar provided by Fem-Ales.

‘We are very grateful to our sponsors, Hosking Houses Trust and Gold Dust for the valuable support they have given our competition and our launch events.  It is a privilege to offer women the possibility of publication and exposure for their work,’ said Belona Greenwood, co-organiser of Words and Women. ‘And it is a marvellous opportunity to bring together other creatives in response to words written by women.  We are really excited by our collaboration with Print to the People and Chalk Circle Theatre Company.’

‘We would like to thank everybody involved in this commemoration of International Women’s Day and our entire week of exhibition and readings,’ added Lynne Bryan, the other organiser of Words and Women. ‘Last year we had a fabulous event at Norwich Arts Centre with the magnificent Karen Reilly and the Neutrinos.  This year we thought we would do something completely different, and this is very different and very exciting.’

Words and Women has twice been shortlisted for the national Saboteur Awards and, this year for the second time, Words and Women were runners up in the Women in Publishing award for ‘pioneering venture.’

Words and Women showcase women writers who live in the East of England, at all stages of their professional careers in an annual celebration of regional creativity on International Women’s Day, and through commissioning opportunities and an annual new writing prize.

Visit the wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk for more information.

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