Wednesday 21 October 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Well-known bibliotherapist and writer, Ella Berthoud, in conversation with Quay Words Autumn writer-in-residence, Patrick Gale about our reading lives and why reading is good for us.  Expect tips, examples and sheer reading bliss.

You can purchase a copy of 30 Second Literature; The 50 most important forms, genres and styles, each explained in half a minute by Ella Berthaud here and a copy of Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale, here. 

This event will take place online via Crowdcast, live streamed from Exeter Custom House.


Ella Berthoud  started reading on a journey from Tehran to London, on the parcel shelf of a Wolsey 1300 when she was five. She spent the next thirteen years reading books in inappropriate places like ski-lifts and trampolines. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University, where she read as many novels as she could at once.

Ella first started talking about bibliotherapy with Susan Elderkin when they were at Cambridge together. Over the ensuing years they prescribed literature to their friends and family. In 2007 they developed the idea in conjunction with The School of Life into what it is today, a one to one service taking place in person, or over the phone. They have since become world authorities on bibliotherapy. Ella and Susan began writing about bibliotherapy, and first co-authored The Novel Cure: an A-Z of Literary Remedies, then The Story Cure: How to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise. Ella has since written a solo book, The Art of Mindful Reading: Embracing the Wisdom of Words, and has edited and co-written 30 Second Literature; The 50 most important forms, genres and styles, each explained in half a minute. Ella lives in West Sussex with her husband and three daughters.


Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight in 1962. He studied at Winchester College and New College, Oxford. In 1988 he moved to Cornwall where he lives with his husband, the farmer and sculptor, Aidan Hicks, on their farm at Land’s End. He is a keen cellist, gardener and artistic director of the North Cornwall Book Festival. Patrick has written twelve novels, the latest is Take Nothing With You.

In 2017 his Man in an Orange Shirt was screened by BBC2 as part of the Gay Britannia season, which also featured the documentary All Families Have Secrets – the Narrative Art of Patrick Gale. Continuing to be broadcast regularly around the world, it won an International Emmy for best miniseries. He is currently working on a novel about the Cornish poet, Charles Causley and his mother, and writing the scripts for a musical version of Man in an Orange Shirt and a television adaptation of A Place Called Winter.


Patrick Gale photo: Markus Bidaux