During lockdown, the Quay Words programme moved online and we are delighted to have recruited Bristol-based Tjawangwa Dema as our digital writer-in-residence for July/August.
TJ’s residency will aim to recreate the informal and ready access to a practicing writer that all our Quay Words residencies have offered. It will include a mix of bookable and open ‘meet-the-writer’ sessions, using digital platforms which can be accessed via the Quay Words box office. To receive the latest updates, you can sign up to our newsletter here.
During her residency Tjawangwa will be pursuing her established interest in nature writing. Under the working title Another Pastoral, she will explore ‘enquiry, empathy, ethnicity and the environment’ through the lens of poetry, interviews and soundscapes. TJ will blog on the Quay Words website over the course of the month, charting the residency, her research and her day-to-day experiences. She will be available for a live public reading / Q&A session, where the audience will be invited to discuss the residency and reflect on the practice of poetry and its relationship to our current climate crisis. TJ is also excited for anyone with a direct connection to Exeter to contribute a photograph and text to her ‘Place is Personal’ project. Further submission details can be found here.
Tjawangwa Dema said of her residency: “I am excited at the prospect of thinking about human beings’ capacity to co-exist with the other-than-human world as well as to recognize and respond to the environment. I’ve only been to Exeter once before at the invitation of the University of Exeter’s Department of English and Film, in partnership with the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. I’m really looking forward to connecting with this newly-designated UNESCO City of Literature and its community of writers, scientists and other creative thinkers.”
Tjawangwa Dema has worked as a spoken word poet for fifteen years. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Careless Seamstress, was published in March 2019 and won the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry, receiving praise from US Poet Laureate Tracy K Smith.
Photo: Petra Rolinec