Louisa Adjoa-Parker - Quay Words' first ever writer-in-residence

Over the course of her six week residency in the summer of 2019, Louisa immersed herself into the atmosphere of the historic Exeter Custom House and the surrounding quayside. Whether meeting other writers, inspiring the next generation or hearing from the voices of the Custom House’s past, Louisa spent the summer collecting stories and exploring the history of this unique place.

Louisa’s residency was celebrated with a performance of her Quay Words commissioned narrative poem ‘Let the river sing’ as part of Heritage Open Days in September 2019.

Download 'Let the river sing' here
Photo: Robert Golden

Johann Thorsson - Icelandic writer-in-residence, sponsored by The British Council

Johann Thorsson - British Council

In the late summer of 2019, we were proud to host our first international writer-in-residence Johann Thorsson. Thanks to the support of a grant from the British Council, Johann spent a week in Exeter getting to know the city and the historic Custom House.

Johann’s interest is in the genre of Noir and during his residency, he completed his first novel. Speaking of this Johann said:

I managed to complete my book, and on the very last evening in Exeter, I sent copies off to agents, both in the UK and in the US. I would say that the residency as such was a success, even beyond my hopes. […] It is no stretch to say that without the residency I would not have been able to complete my novel as well as I now have, nor would I have the confidence to start querying it around to agents. I had the most wonderful time in Exeter.

As his residency drew to a close, we asked him to pen a short story inspired by Exeter, the Custom House and its history. We’re pleased to share Styrjöld with you.

Click here to read 'Styrjöld'
Photo: Heida Helgadottir