The festival was part of an initiative to explore the potential for the beautiful Custom House, built in 1680 at the height of Exeter’s woollen cloth industry, to become a hub for literature. The programme was put together by Literature Works on behalf of the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust, and with support from Arts Council England. We were delighted to partner them, running a pop-up shop every weekend and supporting the events.
The programme of words and stories was jam-packed with author events, workshops, masterclasses and salons, and culminated with a small press marketplace and print workshop. Highlights for us included Raymond Antrobus reading from his Ted Hughes Award-winning The Perseverance, and CCB patron Patrick Gale talking about his latest novel Take Nothing With You.
During the Quay Words festival Exeter published its five-year cultural strategy and heard the exciting news that it has been successful in the first phase of its application to become a UNESCO City of Literature.
Exeter City Council is leading the tender, in partnership with Exeter Culture, The University of Exeter, Devon County Council, Libraries Unlimited, Literature Works (which wrote the bid), Exeter Cathedral and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust. Exeter is one of only four UK cities which can be endorsed by UNESCO’s UK Commission to join the Creative Cities Network and its application now goes into an international competition which will be decided in November 2019. Good luck Exeter – we’re keeping our fingers crossed…