Even though Nottingham is a small city with a population of 270 000, it is known around the world, mostly because of the legends of Robin Hood. Moreover, the city is home to many important cultural events, some of which date back to the Middle Ages.
Without a doubt Nottingham can be called a city of writers – it was home to George Byron, one of the most influential and controversial artists of the Romanticism, whose life is still shrouded in mystery. His “Byronic hero” became part of the history of literature. Nottingham was also the birthplace of D.H. Lawrence, an author concerned with dehumanisation, the source of which was the influence of modernity and industrialisation. Also among the group of writers born in this city was Stanley Middleton, who in 1974 received the Booker Prize for his novel Holiday. In addition to being a writer, he was also a painter and an organ player. Another son of Nottingham, Alan Sillitoe, gained fame as a representative of “angry young men” – writers who opposed the hypocrisy of middle-class customs. He wrote mostly poetry and short stories. Robert Harris, a contemporary writer, author of historical thrillers, non-fiction and alternate history books, is also connected with the city.
Two universities are located in the city – University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, both of which serve over 65 000 students. In the past, both of them educated many artists and politicians.
Every year, the Words Festival takes place in Nottingham. As a part of the project, financed from the budget of the Arts Council, the city supports the local “rebellious writers” and promotes debut authors. Another interesting initiative connected with literature was the development of the Sillitoe Trail iPhone application, allowing the visitors and residents alike to see the places described in the novel Saturday Night and the Sunday Morning.
Nottingham is a place where many events connected with literature take place every year, starting with literary competitions for young authors. Among them is a poetry and short story competition, held in January – with financial prizes and the opportunity for the authors to present their works during the official gala in Nottingham. The city also supports debut artists by organising meetings as a part of the Write Club, where authors can read their dramas, and then a discussion of the work takes place. The meetings also often cover historical debates, during which the prominent scholars and experts on literature come to the city to talk about writers, who were involved in key events in the past – an example of such meeting is the Poet’s Rising. Events connected with mystery novels also take place in the city, which provide a place for discussion between the authors, investigators and the forensic experts, as investigation and forensics are among the most important aspects of mystery novels.
Without doubt, Nottingham is a city that supports the writers and literature. Apart from all the literary events (meetings with authors, festivals), many competitions and various actions are organised every year. Moreover, the number of projects with the sole aim of creating links between Nottingham and literature is ever growing.