By Danielle Prostrollo
Charles Walker, decorated B-24 Liberator pilot for the 445th Bomb Group at Tibbenham, was an active supporter of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library throughout his life. In memory of his life and support, a yearly lecture is organised as a joint effort between the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust and the Department of American Studies at the University of East Anglia which is titled the Charles Walker Memorial Lecture.
Each year a guest speaker, specialising in different facets of American histories and culture, is invited to Norwich for the annual Charles Walker Memorial Lecture. This year we are anxiously awaiting Professor Susan Castillo Street’s talk titled The Dark Side of Paradise: 21st Century Florida Gothic in Carl Hiaasen and Karen Russell. The money for this annual lecture is lovingly donated in Chuck’s memory by his widow Dr Dede Casad.
The evening will, no doubt, delve into each author’s depictions of modern Florida and those wanting to become more acquainted with the material (or simply refresh their memory) can pick up or reserve a copy of your favourite Hiaasen or Swamplandia by Russell from Norfolk libraries.
Please join us for an afternoon with Professor Castillo Street whether you are a well-read fan of the authors or are simply interested in learning more about American literature. The event is free and no booking is necessary.
We have an exciting summer of events coming up at the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library; from the UEA Lecture series focusing on the political climate of American current events to events exploring the historical role of Americans in East Anglia there is a talk for everyone.
A few of the historical talks coming up include:
This session will allow you to get up close with American artefacts from WWII – perspex windscreen jewellry for an airman’s sweetheart to silk maps used in the event of emergency landing (or worse!). Come along and have a look at the different items and learn a bit of Norwich history.
Recently we have launched our digital archive – a massive project that allows anyone to access the treasure trove of artefacts and memorabilia of the 2nd Air Division Memorial from any computer. This talk will not only show you how to navigate and search for items within the digital archive but also whet your appetite for the kinds of things that can be found – poetry, letters, diaries, photos, and so much more.
A bit different from the digital archive, this talk at Hunstanton Library will showcase some of the film footage taken by and of the American airmen during their time in East Anglia. The archival footage is a fascinating way to put yourself in their time and will surely get you thinking about how life has changed in the years that followed!
We hope to see you at any (or all!) of the above talks this May. Please refer to the appropriate digital flyer for booking, location, and time details.
Well, the English summer is in full swing with constant thunderstorms, but thankfully we’ve hosted a series of cozy events here at the Memorial Library, safe and sound out of the rain.
Creative Writing Workshops with UEA Graduates
On Saturday, June 25th we assembled for two creative workshops hosted by graduates of UEA’s prestigious MA in creative writing program. Much fun was had by all as we completed a series of unique and helpful writing exercises. The props you see on the table also provided inspiration when necessary (can you spot the celery and tennis ball?) .
If you’re interested in joining one of the creative writing groups that meet regularly here at the library, be sure to get in touch!
Assembly Ship Coloring with School Groups
We also had a visit yesterday from some local schools! They were given a tour of the library and had the opportunity to design and name their own assembly ships. Names included Harry Potter, Crazy King Express, Peppa, Just Like a Fire, Black Wing, and many more. The assembly ships are now proudly decorating the library pillars. Be sure to come and and see them if you have the chance.
American Scholar Linda gives a talk about the American presence in Norfolk during WWII. Sadly this was Linda’s last day as a scholar (doesn’t the time just fly?!) and we are certainly going to miss her presence here very much. Fortunately there are rumours of a staff pizza outing together soon so it won’t be the last we see of her just yet 😉 … Good luck Linda and come back and visit us soon!!
Hard at work on coloring and designing their assembly ships.
The final product! We’ve already had several of the proud artists come in today with their family members to show them off.
April is National Poetry Month and in order to celebrate we are hosting an evening of Great American Poems here at the Memorial Library, on Monday, April 25th, 6.30-7.30pm. It will be a fun, informal, poetry-filled evening of readings and presentations by local poets and scholars from the University of East Anglia. If you’d like, you can even bring and share your own favorite American poem (which is entirely optional but highly recommended!). This event is a lovely opportunity to meet fellow poetry lovers from the Norwich area, and a chance to hear poems you may otherwise have never encountered. Admission is free, but space is limited so be sure to book your place by either commenting here or contacting us via phone, email, or dropping by in person. We look forward to seeing you there!