Wednesday 12 October 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Greta Stoddart will launch her new collection Fool, followed by a conversation with the Literature Works team.

When knowledge is ours at the tap of a key, what is it we’re accumulating, and is it at the expense of another, more intuitive, kind of knowing?

The word ‘fool’ derives from the Latin follis, one of whose meanings is ‘empty-headed person’.  Such mindlessness is not quite imaginable, but perhaps it is possible that by unknowing a thing we can start to see it differently. There’s a lot the fool doesn’t know – otherwise they wouldn’t be a fool – but can anyone be trusted to know anything?

A low-level hum of discordance runs through these poems: between inner and outer worlds, between the sceptical and the wondering mind. Ideas of belief and truth play out in various ways, often through lone figures, fools maybe, thinking aloud, continually distracted by the necessary performance of being.

There will be wine and refreshments at the launch, along with copies of the collection to buy.

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


Greta Stoddart grew up in Belgium and Oxford. She studied Drama at Manchester University and acting at the Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. In 1990 Greta returned to the UK where she lived in London for 17 years, co-founding the theatre company Brouhaha. She co-wrote and performed in 3 shows touring UK, Europe and Mexico. Brouhaha’s  first show Fish Soup won the Prix d’Or at the Festival de Villard de Lans, France in 1992. In 1993 Greta began classes with Michael Donaghy at the City University in London. Over the next few years her poems were published in magazines and newspapers including The IndependentTLSPoetry Review and The Sunday Times. In 2001 Anvil Press published her first collection At Home in the Dark which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.

Greta began teaching at Morley College in London before going on to teach at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She then became a Poetry Fellow at Warwick University, Writer-in-Residence at Exeter University and Creative Writing tutor at Bath Spa University. Her second collection Salvation Jane (Anvil) was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Book Award and her third collection Alive Alive O (Bloodaxe) was shortlisted for the 2016 Roehampton Poetry Prize.

In 2012 her poem Deep Sea Diver was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Individual poem. Greta’s work has been included in several anthologies, most recently Best of British Poetry 2014 (Salt) and Picador Book of Love Poems (2011). Who’s there? a poem for radio was broadcast on Radio 4’s Echo Chamber,  was BBC Pick of the Week and shortlisted for the 2017 Ted Hughes Award. Her short story The Leavetaking was shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Award 2021. In 2022 she is judging the National Poetry Competition. Greta lives in Devon and teaches seminars for the Poetry School in Exeter, Axminster and Bridport.


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.

We can accommodate free tickets for carers or personal assistants if needed. Please email us on after booking to let us know if you would like to book one of these tickets.