First 40 writers unveiled for International Literature Showcase

The first 40 British writers and 25 literature organisations participating in this year’s International Literature Showcase (ILS) have been revealed today, including authors, Liz Berry, Alex Bellos, Vahni Capildeo, Tessa Hadley, Frances Hardinge, Nikesh Shukla, Sarah Howe, Sarah Perry, Max Porter and Malika Booker.

Run by Writers’ Centre Norwich and the British Council, the ILS is a ten-month programme offered to selected UK writers and literature organisations to help promote and export their work across the world, through events, special commissions and an online platform (

Free to access and featuring a monthly series of editorials, think pieces and podcasts focusing on international creative exchange, this newly created online space will also help bring the wider professional community together globally to share expertise and build collaborations. To mark its launch week, the channel will broadcast five exclusive talks from some of the UK’s leading literary festivals each day, featuring speakers including Sebastian Faulks, Benjamin Zephaniah, Pat Barker, Michael Morpurgo, Malorie Blackman and Jackie Kay.

Focusing on emerging and mid-career talent, writers were selected from 369 applicants via an open, peer-nominated selection process to represent the broad cross-section of UK creativity. In total, 80 writers and 50 literature organisations will be supported through the coming year, with the final selections announced at The London Book Fair next March. Activity culminates in June 2017 with a major international exchange taking place in Norwich, a UNESCO City of Literature.

“We are thrilled to unveil the first selection of writers and organisations to benefit from this year’s International Literature Showcase – a group so packed with talent it underscores yet again the vibrancy of our national creative output. With a terrific programme of support in place, including a new digital platform that all literature professionals can benefit from, we are eager to begin our work in showcasing the best of literary Britain to the world.”
— Chris Gribble, Chief Executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich

This expanded programme builds on the success of previous years, which saw 92%* of writers considering new international work as a result of their involvement and 76.9% of UK delegates developing active plans for future work through Showcase connections. This includes Joe Dunthorne who collaborated with Shanghai 99 to perform readings in Shanghai and Beijing; Man Booker Prize longlisted author Yvvette Edwards who attended the first FLUPP Festival in Rio de Janeiro; and Tom Warner who partnered with Brine Pickles to deliver writing workshops in Bangladesh and a reading of his work at Palfest in Palestine. Tom also connected with international delegate Najwan Darwish on a translation of the Syrian poet, Nouri Al-Jarrah and as part of this, a selection of his poetry was translated into Arabic.

“We are delighted to support the launch of the ILS. This innovative online showcase will reach a wide international audience of individuals and organisations interested in British Literature. Some of the most exciting contemporary writers and literature producers from all parts of the UK will be featured over the next months and we are confident that this will lead to a host of new international collaborations and literature exchanges.”
— Cortina Butler, Director Literature British Council

Other former participants who have all benefited from the programme include Tom Macarthy,Eimear McBride, Helen McDonald, Patrick Barkham, Kirsty Logan and Robert Macfarlane

In addition to helping UK writers build their profile abroad, a survey of the programme’s international delegates found 93.8% were more likely to work with British writers and organisations following the event, demonstrating the unique role the Showcase plays in exporting British culture and fostering international relationships.

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