Louisa Adjoa Parker, QuayWords writer-in-residence

Photo by Robert Golden
This week we welcome Louisa Adjoa Parker to the blog. Louisa is the first QuayWords writer-in-residence based at the Customs House on the Quay this summer, and we've asked her to tell us a bit about herself and what she has planned for her residency.

Have you been a writer-in-residence before?
I've been a writer-in-residence a few other times. There were a couple of week long residencies at primary schools, and a residency at HMP YOI Portland, where I worked with black and minority ethnic prisoners and produced an anthology of their work. More recently I was the Lit Up! and Poole Libraries writer-in-residence. This is the first residency I've had in Exeter which is fantastic for me as I love the city, and county of Devon.

What made you apply for the residency here?
I applied for the position because it looked like an exciting opportunity to deliver some place based writing, drawing on two things I'm passionate about - literature and history (especially the untold stories). The Quay Words themes, which include nature, history, accessibility and well being, are important to me and I often draw on them in my own writing and writing workshops.

Although I've been coming to Exeter for years - I've lived in different parts of the south west and it's often been my nearest city; I and my daughter went to Exeter University; my eldest daughter, granddaughter and friends live there - I didn't know the quayside very well. I thought the area was beautiful, and I was keen to spend time in the Custom House and on the site and learn about its history. As well as this, I was familiar with the fantastic range of work Literature Works delivers, and thought this would be a great opportunity to create new work and meet new people.

What do you have planned for your residency?
During the residency I'll be doing some historical research, and choosing some stories to write about. This might take the form of poetry or short fiction, and will be published online in the autumn. I'll be delivering two place based creative writing workshops - one with a local school and another for adults - and supporting participants to write using the site as inspiration. There'll be an opportunity for some of the pieces produced to be published on the blog. Each Thursday between 1 and 3 pm there's the opportunity for members of the public to drop in and chat to me, and this week I was honoured to meet the last man to work at Custom House as a customs and excise officer.

Are there any local stories or subjects that you are keen to find out about?
I'm interested in finding out about the untold stories, stories of ordinary people who lived, worked or passed through the Custom House and quayside. I'm more interested in social history than learning about kings and queens. So far I've learned that it was a centre for processing woollen cloth, and the methods involved were rather alarming! (The wool was washed in a fluid containing ammonia, which came from humans). The area used to be very poor, and must have been very different to how it is today with all the shops and bars and restaurants, and people sitting around chatting outside in the sun. I want to find out about people from marginalized groups, whose stories haven't traditionally been told, such as women, working class people, and migrants. I'm interested in any global connections or links with the African slave trade. The residency is short so I don't have long! A few things have already jumped out at me, and I'm sure there'll be plenty of material to choose from!

What do you normally write about?
I write about a range of things, often around identity and place, and favourite themes include home, nature, and landscape; gender; race; parenting; domestic violence; love; and loss. I began writing originally to talk about the racism and domestic violence I grew up with, and this gave me a voice. I'm keen to tell stories of marginalised people from the south west, as the idyllic image many people have of the region can hide rural deprivation and discrimination; the countryside isn't all roses around the cottage door for everyone. It can be tough living here as a minority. I'm inspired by my own experience and memories, stories I read in the news, someone I catch sight of who interests me, place and history. I write poetry, fiction, articles and history which has focused so far on black and minority ethnic people in the south west.

You can see examples of Louisa's work and buy her poetry collections on her website: www.louisaadjoaparker.com

If you're interested in the stories of black and brown people in the south west, check out her blog: www.whereareyoureallyfrom.co.uk

If you have any stories you'd like to share about the ordinary people who lived and worked at the quayside, you can contact Louisa via her blog or drop in on her at the Customs House on a Thursday afternoon.

 <- Click here to find out more or to book for Louisa's workshop on Sunday 21st July

Quay Words

Writers' Salon Saturday 6th July.

This summer, Literature Works is exploring the potential for the Exeter Customs House to become a literary hub with their Quay Words programme of events.

Are you free between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Saturday 6th July?

Would you like the opportunity to meet lots of other South West writers?

As part of this summers' Quay Words events, in association with Literature Works, Exeter Writers and Exeter Literary Festival are co-hosting a free evening of conversation, networking and idea sharing.

We would love to meet you. Don't miss this opportunity to old and new writing friends!

(nb: This event is FREE but ticketed, please remember to book your space!)


Short Story Competition Winners!

The winning entries

1. The Woman in Pieces by Jenny Pierpoint, Torquay, Devon
2. Wave after Wave by Brigid McConville, Pilton, Somerset
3.  The Real Thing by Tracy Fells, Ashington, West Sussex.

The winning entry from Devon is: Seeing to Mrs Hickmott by David Bonnett, Exeter, Devon

Click on the stories' names to read the winning entries!

The Short List

Wave after Wave by Brigid McConville, Pilchon, Somerset
The Nimrod Variation by Evan Guilford-Blake, Stone Mountain, USA
The Real Thing by Tracy Fells, Ashington, West Sussex
Demolition by Yvonne Sampson, Bushey, Hertfordshire
The End by  Tabitha Dylan, Exeter, Devon
The Woman in Pieces by Jenny Pierpoint, Torquay, Devon
Home Schooling by Shannon Savvas,  Nicosia, Cyprus
Anonymous by Hannah Persuad, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Seeing to Mrs Hickmott by David Bonnet, Exeter, Devon.
The Entertainer by Kate O’Grady, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Me Foot is a Foot is a Foot by Nick Petty, Utrecht
The Netherlands

The Long List

Woman in a Chair by Natalie Smith, Bristol
The Nimrod Variation by Evan Guilford-Blake, Stone Mountain, USA
Anesu and Andrei by Tristan Marajh, Ontario, Canada
The Balance of Things by Hannah Persaud, Stroud, Gloucester
The Entertainer by Kate O’Grady, Stroud, Gloucester
Me foot is a Foot is a Foot by Nick Petty, , Utrecht
The Netherlands
The Holiday by Cath Barton, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
 Bon Bon And Marguerite by Clare Palmer, London
Seven Dandelions by Jayne Buxton, London
Note of Respect by Alan Bryant, Swansea, Wales
Peace Offerings by Elizabeth Pratt, Swansea
The Assassination of a President by Richard Hooton, Ashton-under-Lyne,  Lancashire
Home Schooling by Shannon Savvas, Nicosia, Cyprus
Wave after Wave by Brigid McConville, Pilchon, Somerset
Terry Toast by Rob Schofield, Sherborne.
Choosing Another Goodbye by Taria Karillion, Mickle Trafford, Chester
The Real Thing by Tracy Fells, Ashington, West Sussex.
 Demolition by Yvonne Sampsom Bushey, Hertfordshire
The End by Tabitha Dylan, Exeter, Devon
The Woman in Pieces by Jenny Pierpoint, Torquay, Devon
Seeing to Mrs Hickmott by David Bonnett, Exeter, Devon
Veronika by Minnie Day, Newton Abbot, Devon

Dare you face the Chudleigh Dragons?

On Wednesday 10th July, Chudleigh will be invaded by Dragons!

DragonBack by popular demand after its successful first appearance in 2018, Face the Chudleigh Dragons will be part of the Chudleigh Literary Festival again this year. 

It will be the chance for authors to pitch their latest novels to a panel of industry experts in front of a live, but very supportive audience. And the prize for the winning pitch? A manuscript assessment by those wonderful people at Creative Writing Matters, the folks behind the Exeter Novel Prize.

SophieOne of the judges returning from last year is our very own Exeter Writer, Sophie Duffy. A prize-winning novelist who also runs workshops for Creative Writing Matters and appraises manuscripts for emergent novelists. She  offers a mentoring scheme for writers who want to change course or who need a push in the right direction. Several of her clients have gone on to secure publishing deals.

IH 2.jpgAlso returning to practice his fire-breathing will be Ian Hobbs, an avid reader and founder of Devon Book Club, a network of over 3500 book lovers from across the county (and beyond) who get together on Twitter, Facebook and/or Goodreads to discuss all things book-related. Ian regularly reviews books for the network and facilitates events to bring readers and writers together.

LA 1The third dragon, and new recruit this year, is multilingual fiction and children’s books writer, Loreley Amiti, who used her experience in journalism and marketing to found her own publishing label; Littwitz Press. Loreley’s books have been translated into various languages and reached #1 in Italy as well as the top 3 in the German Amazon bestseller charts.

You can read more about the competition and entry details here! The competition is now open and there is no fee to take part.  

You have until 16th June to get your entries in!