Wednesday, June 3, 2015

‘Writing Places’ – celebrating the literary heritage of the South West

Workshops and events...writers-in-residence...literary gossip...creative writing talks. 
What’s this, you say?

It’s all part of a new project set up by three charities – Literature Works, the Poetry Archive, and the National Trust – funded by the ArtsCouncil

Five National Trust houses in the South West – Hardy’s Cottage and MaxGate (Dorchester), A la Ronde (Exmouth), Greenway (nr Brixham) and ColeridgeCottage (nr Bridgwater) – will be hosting a programme of literary events over the next 2 years.

Last night I went to the launch at Max Gate, with guest speaker Sir Andrew Motion (what a treat!). We heard how this exciting project is designed to:

  • provide experiences that connect people today to these special places;
  • show the intimate every-day life of the authors who lived and worked there;
  • highlight the strong spirit of the places, telling their stories in new ways.

Why are these places still so impactful today? What is their contemporary relevance? It’s all about widening and diversifying the audience, to enthuse the next generation.

Through contemporary writers and poets, you will come to see how the authors who lived there were inspired, and how this inspiration is still evident today, working its magic on future writers. Writers-in-residence will let the essence of the place soak into them, to inspire and encourage new writing.

Discover the conditions under which famous writers, such as Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Parminter sisters, wrote – how their houses and environment reflected them and inspired their work.

The ‘Writing Places’ project is being trialled in the South West, and, if successful, may be rolled out across the whole of the National Trust’s properties with a literary connection. These are not dry, dusty, historic buildings, but living, inspiring places, capable of moving people today.

Details of events can be found at

For more about Thomas Hardy, see Dorset County Museum

by Peter John Cooper published by Roving Press. This book was inspired by Max Gate and Peter's feeling for the place and its former inhabitants.


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