World Book Day 2019: Celebrating Norfolk's Rich Literary Heritage

World Book Day 2019: Celebrating Norfolk's Rich Literary Heritage
Heacham Blogs

On March 7, 2019 World Book Day is celebrated across the globe by readers young and old. The mission of World Book Day is to make sure every child has a book of their own to read, and is often celebrated in schools by children (and sometimes teachers as well), dressing up as their favourite literary characters.

To mark World Book Day 2019, we're going to take a look at the literary heritage of Norfolk, and how this beautiful county has inspired some of the nation's best loved writers. 

WH Auden

One of the most revered poets of the 20th century, WH Auden, spent his formative years as a pupil at Gresham's School, near Holt in North Norfolk. Auden went on to study at Oxford, where he later became a don. Auden traveled widely in countries stricken by hardship and political strife, inspiring much of his most famous work. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1948, one of the highest distinctions in literature.

Auden recalled his school days in Holt in a 1934 essay, The Old School, while in 2007, a collection of some of his earliest poems were found in old copies of the school magazine.

W.G Sebald

The late German writer, and head of European Literature of the University of East Anglia, was one of the world's most critically acclaimed authors before his death in 2001. Sebald fell in love with Norfolk and Suffolk after coming to the region to lecture in 1970. This passion for the East Anglian landscape inspired one of his most famous works, The Rings of Saturn. A film, Patience (After Sebald), inspired by the book, was released in 1998. 

Kazuo Ishiguro

Born in Japan, Kazuo Ishiguro came to Norfolk in 1980 to take the prestigious Master of Arts in Creative Writing course at the University of East Anglia, where he studied alongside Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

The region makes an appearance in Ishiguro's most famous novel, Never Let Me Go, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005 and was listed in the TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

In 2017, Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, arguably the highest distinction a writer can receive.

John Betjeman

One of the nation's most treasured poets, John Betjeman was deeply in love with the Norfolk landscape, and in particular with the many ancient churches found across the county. Indeed, Betjeman credits the sight of St Peter's Church in Belaugh seen from his father's yacht as the inspiration for a life-long love of churches, which informed much of his poetry and TV work.


To experience the landscape that inspired these famous writers, there are few better bases from which to explore than Heacham Manor - a luxury Elizabethan hotel on the North Norfolk coast. Why not check out our latest offers?