Quay Words 2020-22

We’ve been thinking about how Quay Words recreates a sense of its historic Exeter Custom House home while the building is closed to visitors and we deliver the programme online. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been trying out new technologies that can blend in-person events (when they becomes possible again) with virtual experiences. One of ways we’ve done this is by creating two additional and virtual writer residencies to take place over the summer months.

Martyn Waites square

We are delighted to announce that multiple-award winning, Exeter based crime-writer Martyn Waites is our first ever Quay Words virtual writer-in-residence. Martyn will be in residence throughout the month of June, taking part in a range of events delivered online. Look out for more details here

Martyn will use his Quay Words residency to bring people together through a shared love of the written word and what it can do. This will kick off with a talk on ‘The History of Crime Fiction’ on 17th June at 6.30 pm, which will take place on Crowdcast. Book your free place here. He will also be running a ‘Locked door mystery’ set at Exeter Custom House on the communications platform, Slack. It’s a whodunnit for the modern era! Details to be announced soon. There will be an opportunity for budding crime and noir writers to join Martyn at the Quay Words Noir at the Bar, an online speakeasy for sharing your work. Booking will go live shortly.

Speaking about the residency, Martyn said:

“First off, I’m absolutely thrilled to have been asked to do this. Obviously, I said yes straight away. This is going to be an interesting one – a virtual residence. Usually the whole point of residencies is to bring people together, united round a common theme. Obviously, that’s easy to do physically. But when we’re all isolating and separated from other people, taking part in things that we love to do and share, it’s going to be more difficult. Or is it? I’m not sure. If we can’t physically be together then we’ll do the next best thing – online. That won’t stop us. In fact, that’s a challenge to rise to. Use this time, these circumstances, in our favour. Get something rewarding out of the experience. And above all, have some fun. I’m massively excited about the potential this virtual residency has. Hope you are too.”

Martyn Waites’ novels include the critically acclaimed Joe Donovan series set in the North East and The White Room which was a Guardian book of the year. In 2013 he was chosen to write Angel of Death, the official sequel to Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, and in 2014 won the Grand Prix du Roman Noir for Born Under Punches. He has been nominated for every major British crime fiction award and has also enjoyed international commercial success with eight novels written under the name Tania Carver. He also writes Doctor Who audio adventures for Big Finish. He lives in Exeter.

Quay Words Winter

For four weeks in February/March, we were delighted to host Natasha Carthew as Quay Words second ever writer-in-residence at Exeter Custom House, where she ran free Wild Writing workshops out on the Quay and ‘meet the writer’ sessions inside. The focus of her residency, which was supported by The Met Office Informatics Lab, was exploring the natural world through the written word, as well as exploring a sense of place.

The culmination of Natasha’s residency was to have been a Quay Voices reading, where she would share the stage with four of the emerging writers she had met and worked with during her four weeks at Exeter Custom House. Natasha was planning to read her Quay Words commissioned poem River running over which used the river Exe to explores the theme of drought. We were hugely disappointed that the event had to be cancelled in response to the lockdown. Now, it’s our pleasure to share the poem with you here, available to download or stream, as recorded in lockdown in Cornwall by Natasha Carthew.

'River running over'

Natasha WIR

Following her residency in February and March 2020 as part of Quay Words Winter, we're delighted to share some brand new material from Natasha Carthew.

Across her residency at Exeter Custom House earlier this year, Natasha explored a sense of place alongside the theme of nature writing. Through a series of nature writing workshops and ‘meet the writer’ sessions, Natasha met aspiring writers from across the city and surrounding area.

Right now, we’re all spending more time at home. This might mean that you’re considering giving writing a try for the first time, or perhaps you’re seeking inspiration to try a new genre. We’ve teamed up with Natasha to make her ‘Wild Writing for beginners’ workshop available online. There are a series of activities and suggestions here which are based on the workshop Natasha led on Exeter Quay in February.

The activities here encourage you to be inspired by the natural world around you. Whether that’s the slice of the world outside of your window right now, a much-rambled route from your daily exercise or a fondly remembered place you’ve visited, we hope you enjoy putting pen to paper.

Watch Natasha introduce her Wild Writing Workshop
Thank you to Natasha Carthew for putting this workshop together.