Ruth Rendell was best known for her hugely popular crime novels, psychological thrillers and police procedurals.
Her books have been the subject of numerous adaptations, and the Inspector Wexford series was televised under the title The Ruth Rendell Mysteries and ran for 48 episodes. She also wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine.
She did most of her writing in a little cottage close to the Suffolk village of Polstead, and in her later years she became Baroness Rendell of Babergh of Aldeburgh in the County of Suffolk, sitting in the House of Lords for the Labour Party. Amongst her other work she introduced into the Lords the bill that would become the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
You can find out more about Rendell here, and if you fancy a trip to the Suffolk then take a look at Visit Suffolk to plan your outing.
King Edmund ruled East Anglia in the ninth century, until his brutal death at the hands of Danish invaders.
Records say he was tied to a tree, shot with arrows and speared with javelins until he was covered with them like ‘the bristles of a hedgehog’, then finally beheaded. Once he was dead, various supernatural happenings were said to have occurred. His body didn’t decay. The head mysteriously reattached itself. A curse the king laid upon a nearby bridge caused ruin for every engaged couple who crossed it on the way to be wed. He was made Patron Saint of England by King Alfred, just twenty years later after his martyrdom. Even the Vikings who slaughtered him bought into his cult, forging coins in his honour. Despite being displaced by Turkish George as Patron Saint of England, Edmund’s legacy is still strong in the county.
And you can find out for yourself on a visit to Bury St Edmunds, check their website here.
If you head to North Norfolk you’ll find a quiet jewellery revolution taking place. Monica Vinader creates custom pieces that sit between fashion and fine jewellery, with celebrity fans including Emma Watson, Olivia Palermo and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Monica Vinader launched the brand in 2008, and won Brand of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards. Since then, the company has continued to grow, with pieces sold by luxury retailers around the world (including Harrods, Liberty, and Net-A-Porter) and Monica Vinader boutiques in Chelsea, Mayfair and Hong Kong.
Monica Vinader grew up surrounded by arts and objects from her parents’ antiques business, a force that led her to create her own company. She set out creating bespoke items from her converted forge in Norfolk, with an office, showroom and workshop all under one roof.
As the business has grown, Norfolk is still integral to the design process, with the whole creative team working from there.
The University of East Anglia Literary Festival has existed, in one form or another, since 1991. Today, UEA hosts two literary festivals per year; one in the spring and the other in the autumn, with the current festival running until 18 November.
The festival is guaranteed to boast some high-profile names; in its 2015 edition, it welcomed the celebrated biologist and writer, Richard Dawkins, in conversation with Chris Bigsby, discussing his career and latest book Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science.
FlipSide 2015 also welcomed David Hare, Britain’s most celebrated political playwright, to talk about his then newly published memoir The Blue Touch Paper.
Hare had also recently made an appearance at FlipSide’s sister festival, Flip, in Brazil, founded in 2003 as the brainchild of FlipSide’s artistic director Liz Calder.
Hare’s career has spanned over thirty years, and his memoir has garnered adoration from critics and readers alike, with Joan Didion saying it is “frank, moving and beguiling, the fascinating story of becoming a writer in the ’60s and ’70s”.
Possibly Sherlock Holmes most enduring mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles has thrilled and terrified readers for decades.
But did you know it was inspired by a visit to Cromer Hall on the North Norfolk coast? When Conan Doyle took a golfing holiday to the region he became enthralled by a story of a huge dog-like creature that stalked the countryside of the East (see day 123). A few years later the world’s greatest detective was doing battle with this fearsome beast, albeit on the moors of Devon.
Ana Maria Pacheco’s work includes sculpture, painting and printmaking. She has stated that she is partly inspired by the troubled period of Brazil’s history, culminating in the takeover by the military junta in 1964.
This series of exhibitions wasn’t Pacheco’s first link with Norwich. She has lived in the UK since 1973, and was Head of Fine Art at the Norwich School of Art from 1985-1989.
Thomas Paine is one of Thetford’s most famous children, and was one of the greatest political figures of his day. He was born in 1737, in a building 100 metres from the Ancient House in Thetford. Influenced by his humble origins in a corrupt and violent world he went on to write earth shattering pamphlets and books such as Common Sense, Age of Reason and Rights of Man.
Paine’s influence was internationally significant, too. He stirred up the spirit of Independence in America; he defended the ideals of the French Revolution, and shaped democracy and human rights in Britain.
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain.
Did you know the roots of the Tonic Sol-fa system (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do) can be found in Norwich?
Sarah Glover who was born in Norwich, and died at Malvern, was the inventor of the Norwich Sol-fa, which was taken up and developed by John Curwen into the Tonic Sol-fa system which is still in use today.
Sarah was born on 13th November 1786, and as the daughter of the Rector of St. Laurence Church she was surrounded by music from an early age. She taught music to local people, and developed the Norwich Sol-fa in order to improve standards of amateur music-making amongst all classes of society.
She felt that the system offered a good start for those not musically literate (Curwen’s visit to her school describes a child barely old enough to stand singing with the class), and excellent for use in schools.
Learn more about Sarah Glover’s fascinating life at Norwich HEART.
Feeling inspired? Visit the places that inspired Sarah, including St. Laurence Church and Stranger’s Hall, and let Visit Norwich be your guide.
Olive Edis was a British photographer who was famous for autochrome and portrait photographs. She was a war artist during World War I.
In 1903, she and her sister opened a studio in Sheringham, Norfolk where they photographed local fisherman and members of the local gentry.
Olive was one of the first female photographers to make use of the autochrome process and she patented her own design of autochrome viewers, called diascopes.
This autochrome self portrait was taken by Edith in her studio in Sheringham: the basket of flowers is believed to be there to hide the shutter mechanism. Although Olive set up her pictures in a quite traditional manner, her penchant to only use natural light set her apart from others.