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Announcing Quay Words and Devon and Exeter Institution’s shared writer-in-residence in March and April 2023

Quay Words and the Devon and Exeter Institution are pleased to announce Davina Quinlivan as our shared writer-in-residence in March and April, focusing on the theme of Threads. Davina will spend time at both venues, diving into Exeter’s rich textile history and present day connections, as well as delivering workshops and events for the public.


Davina writes: “It is a great honour to be a Writer in Residence at these two venues in Exeter, a place where I have lived and worked for several years. I want to celebrate the city and reveal it in a new light, using a wide range of creative practices and forms in order to rethink this landscape, as well as build on the narratives of the community, our voices and our shared histories, which are multiple and richly textured.


Davina’s first session will be a creative writing workshop on 18th March, which will lead to the creation a long form piece of poetry, written in collaboration with members of the public. You can find out more and book here. We are pleased to announce that this piece of writing will be published online as part of a special issue of Little Toller’s blog, The Clearing. In addition to other workshops to be announced shortly, Davina will also be reading from Shalimar and her work in progress, Waterlines.


Davina Quinlivan is a Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at The University of Exeter. Her memoir, Shalimar: A Story of Place and Migration, was recently published with Little Toller Books (2022) and her creative non-fiction essays and short stories have appeared in The Willowherb Review, Litro, Arty, The Clearing, Caught by The River, and in collaboration with The Countryside Alliance and The Museum of English Rural Life. Her work has featured as part of programmed, public events with The Wallace Collection, The Wellcome Trust, The Urban Tree Festival and The Serpentine Gallery. For several years, she has run the popular seminar series F: For Flânerie at The Freud Museum and is part of the founding teaching ensemble at The New School of the Anthropocene, alongside Marina Warner and Robert Macfarlane. Shalimar was selected by Spiracle Audiobooks as one of stories which would launch their new audiobook platform in 2022. Prior to moving to Exeter, she taught for 12 years as a Senior Lecturer in The School of Art, Kingston University. She is currently working on a follow-up to Shalimar entitled Waterlines, on rivers and migration, trauma and healing, and a novel set between Cornwall and the Black Sea.


Quay Words is a partnership between Exeter Canal and Quay Trust and Literature Works, the literature development charity for South West England. Quay Words is based at the historic Exeter Custom House on Exeter Quayside and showcases literature as an accessible and diverse art form. Funded by Arts Council England and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust, Quay Words is developing this Grade 1 listed building as a hub for literature at the heart of Exeter as a UNESCO City of Literature. For further information, please visit the Quay Words website: www.quaywords.org.uk


The Devon and Exeter Institution is a thriving independent library and educational charity in the heart of the city. It welcomes new members and visitors of all ages. Its founders established the Institution in 1813, in order to promote ‘the general diffusion of Science, Literature and the Arts, and for illustrating the Natural and Civil History of the county of Devon and the History of the City of Exeter’. This resolution remains at the centre of our cause to this day.

Davina Quinlivan