There are many writers who have emerged from East Anglia. The physical nature of the county and also the remoteness of some of its areas have inspired the creative side of the writers’ thoughts, and this has produced a number of novelists who, in turn, created more than a few best-selling books. There are also a number of classic writers that have come out of the Universities in the region, especially Cambridge, which is home to some of the brightest minds in the country. Many of the students either study literature or are part of creative writing courses that see their pupils venture into writing.
Phillip Pullman was born in Norwich in 1946 and he has written a huge number of books many of which have become best-sellers. His fantasy trilogy “His Dark Materials” is based around the fens, and a great deal of the work he has produced has covered the local region.
The international success he has achieved has resulted in “The Times” newspaper naming him as one of the UK’s “50 greatest writers since 1945”. In 2004 the BBC named Pullman as the eleventh most influential person in British culture. Another author, Anna Sewell, wrote the novel “Black Beauty” which is considered a children’s classic and was made into a film in 1994. She was born in Great Yarmouth in 1820, but during her life she never enjoyed the greatest of health. She wrote Black Beauty while residing in Old Caton, Norfolk, and had to rely on her mother by dictating the text to her.
Another famous writer of children’s books is Enid Blyton, and she went to school in Ipswich as well as spending time living in Seckford Hall, near Woodbridge. Her most famous books were the “Faraway Tree” and the “Famous Five” series. At one stage, Blyton was producing 50 books a year and she also wrote for magazines and newspapers. The volume of the work she produced had critics accusing her of employing ghost writers, but she vigorously denied this. She also created the “Noddy” series which was later adapted for television.
Louis de Bernieres lives near Bungay in Suffolk and in 1994 wrote ”Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” which was short listed for the Sunday Express Book of the Year. It went on to become an international best seller. He has followed this success with a number of other famous novels including “Red Dog” and “Birds Without Wings”. He has even dabbled in writing poetry and non-fiction.
One of the best books to have been written about East Anglia was by Ronald Blythe who wrote “Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village” in 1969. Born in Acton, in Suffolk in 1922, author has worked on a book that served as an account of the agricultural way of life in Suffolk from the start of the century until the late 1960s.
Blythe has written many novels and still writes today at the age of 95. He has never learned how to drive a car and does not use a computer. When Akenfield was adapted for television, it attracted 15 million viewers and Blythe made an appearance playing the local vicar.
The quantity of writers from the regions reflects the interest that people have had with the area. The everyday life experienced has inspired many people to put pen to paper.