Wednesday 7 February 1830 - 1930
We’re thrilled to welcome Fiona to the Custom House to celebrate the launch of her debut novel The House of Broken Bricks. Fiona will read from her novel, followed by a Q&A chaired by memoirist and past writer-in-residence Davina Quinlivan.
Lyrical and powerful – a tender debut about family, loss and life in the countryside.
As Tess traces the sunrise over the floodplains, light that paints the house a startling crimson, she yearns for the comforting chaos of life as it once was. Instead of Max and Sonny tracking dirt through the kitchen – Tess and Richard’s ‘rainbow twins’ – Tess absorbs the quiet. The nights draw in, the soil cools and Richard fights to get his winter crops planted rather than deal with the discussion he cannot bear to have.
Secrets and vines clamber over the broken red bricks and although its inhabitants seem to be withering, in the damp, crumbling soil – Sonny knows it – something is stirring … As the seasons change, and the cracks let in more light, the family might just be able to start to heal.
This is the story of a broken family, what they see and what they cannot say laid bare in their overlapping perspectives. It is a tale of life in the cracks, because in the space for acceptance, of passing and of laying to rest, the possibilities of new energy, light and love, are seeded.
About the author
Fiona Williams holds a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Westminster and an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. She is the winner of the 2021 Bridport Prize, Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award. Originally from South-East London, she now lives with her family on the Somerset Levels. She is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. The House of Broken Bricks is her debut novel.
About the chair
Davina Quinlivan is a Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at The University of Exeter. Her memoir, Shalimar: A Story of Place and Migration, was recently published with Little Toller Books (2022) and her creative non-fiction essays and short stories have appeared in The Willowherb Review, Litro, Arty, The Clearing, Caught by The River, and in collaboration with The Countryside Alliance and The Museum of English Rural Life. Her work has featured as part of programmed, public events with The Wallace Collection, The Wellcome Trust, The Urban Tree Festival and The Serpentine Gallery. She is currently working on a follow-up to Shalimar entitled Waterlines, on rivers and migration, trauma and healing, and a novel set between Cornwall and the Black Sea.
This event will be in-person at Exeter Custom House. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer free carer tickets if you need help to support you to attend.