Wednesday 24 May 6.30 pm - 7.30 pm

We’re excited to welcome the award-winning novelist Kim Sherwood to Exeter Custom House for a reading and Q & A about her latest novel A Wild & True Relation. Combining smuggling and literary history, the novel is a perfect fit for our Custom House venue and this event will be kicking off the Quayside’s first Heritage Harbour festival.

A Wild & True Relation opens during the Great Storm of 1703, as smuggler Tom West confronts his lover Grace for betraying him to the Revenue. Leaving Grace’s cottage in flames, he takes her orphaned daughter Molly on board ship disguised as a boy to join his crew. But Molly, or Orlando as she must call herself, will grow up to outshine all the men of Tom’s company and seek revenge – and a legacy – all of her own.

Woven into Molly’s story are the writers – from Celia Fiennes to Hester Thrale to George Eliot – who are transfixed by her myth and who, over
three centuries, come together to solve the mystery of her life. With extraordinary verve and chutzpah, Sherwood remakes the eighteenth century Heroical novel and celebrates women’s writing and women’s roles throughout history.

You can also save a seat here to watch the live-stream online.

Kim Sherwood is an author and creative writing lecturer. Born in Camden in 1989, she has taught at the University of Sussex, UWE, and in schools, libraries and prisons, and now lectures at the University of Edinburgh, where she lives in the city. Her first novel, Testament, published in 2018, won the Bath Novel Award and the Harper’s Bazaar Big Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. In 2019, Kim was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. Kim is currently writing a trilogy of Double O novels for the Ian Fleming Estate, expanding the James Bond universe with new heroes for the 21st century. The first title, Double or Nothing, was published by HarperCollins in the UK and William Morrow will publish in the US in Spring 2023.


This event will be in-person at Exeter Custom House. We have increased capacity at Quay Words events, so you may be sitting next to someone who is not in your household. We are still taking precautions to ensure our audiences are protected from Covid 19. We will be keeping windows open to ensure good ventilation in the building so you may want to bring an extra layer. Please do not attend Quay Words events if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or are feeling unwell. This event is going to be filmed for live broadcast on Crowdcast. You may appear on screen. Please only book if you are happy with this.

You can find out more about the accessibility of the Custom House here. If you have any access needs you’d like to discuss with us before the event you can contact us on We can offer free carer tickets if you need help to support you to attend.