Wednesday 19 October 6:30 pm - 7.45pm
A collaboration between Quay Words and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health

In the first of our public events from The Health & Resilience Project, we welcome poets Fiona Benson and Kat Lyons to Exeter Custom House where they will treat us to readings from their recent works, followed by a Q&A in which will we explore the presentation of bodies, change, and resilience in poetry.

You can also ‘save a seat’ here to watch the live stream of this event from home, free of charge.

About the writers

Fiona Benson was educated at Trinity College, Oxford and then St Andrews University, where she completed the MLitt and a PhD in early modern drama. Her pamphlet was ‘Faber New Poets 1’ in the Faber New Poets series, and her full-length collection Bright Travellers (Cape, 2014) received the Seamus Heaney Prize for first collection and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second book, Vertigo & Ghost (Cape, 2019) won the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize. Her third collection is Ephemeron (2022). She lives in mid-Devon with her husband and their two daughters.

Photo by Jessica Farmer of Perspectives Photography

Kat Lyons (they/them) is a Queer Bristol-based writer, performer, workshop facilitator and creative producer whose work is grounded in everyday politics and a love of storytelling. They are the current Bristol City Poet (2022-2024) and were nominated for the Jerwood Poetry in Performance Award 2022. Kat’s debut collection Love Beneath the Nails was published in Feb 2022 by Verve Poetry Press. They perform widely at poetry nights, festivals and events throughout the UK and are currently touring their first solo show, Dry Season, which explores menopause, age and gender.

The Health & Resilience Project is a collaboration between the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and Quay Words,  supported by Exeter City of Literature. It seeks to provide spaces in which self-identified women and non-binary people can explore their experiences of wellness and illness through creative expression. Using poetry and art, we visit the places, practices, and people we turn to in times of ill-health, change and difficulty, and seek-out the stories that illuminate our experiences. Throughout autumn 2022, we will welcome poets, artists, and members of the public to the Custom House to join us in this exciting project. Through free reading events, workshops, and our online virtual scrapbook, we hope to provide opportunities for engagement with this important subject in diverse ways for diverse groups of people. The project website, home to our virtual scrapbook ‘Expressions of Health and Resilience’, will be launching soon, and we warmly invite all women and non-binary people to visit, explore, and share their stories!


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. For this reason we ask that you please consider wearing a mask when not seated and moving around the building. 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