Sunday 4 December 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

The Islands of Women Collective — writer-in-residence Alice, artists Rose Gibbs and Léonie Hampton — collaborated with musician Piers Lewin (Full of Noises) on a short art film, Zenae, edited by Martin Hampton with sound editing by Sam Britton. The film winds together, among other things, Piers’ music, with quotations and research from Alice’s books. Here they screen Zenae, the fruit of this collaboration, accompanied by music and sounds made and recorded by Piers in the Isles of Scilly, in an exploration of the metamorphosis that occurs when words and music meet. Zenae was created using public funding from Arts Council England. 


Alice Albinia is the award-winning author of twinned works of fiction and non-fiction. Her two new books are about Britain and its islands. The Britannias, a portrait of Britain which knocks the centre out, is forthcoming from Allen Lane/WW Norton in 2023. Her new novel, Cwen, set on an archipelago off the east coast of Britain which comes under female rule, out now with Serpent’s Tail, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and Scotland’s National Book Awards.

Rose Gibbs is an artist with several different strands to her practice: using the voice in participatory performances, sculpture, writing, organising and presenting talks and collaborating with others. All are interconnected and attempt to elicit thinking about gender and its role in shaping the cultural landscape where the place of women seems fragile.

Léonie Hampton lives and works in Devon. She has exhibited in solo and group shows in the U.K. France, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Vienna, Italy and Canada. Successive photo-based projects have been funded by Wellcome Trust and the British Council and her 16-part photo Installation was purchased for the permanent collection of the MEP (Maison Européenne de la Photographie – Ville de Paris) in 2008.  In 2011 her award-winning 184-page book In the shadow of things was published by Contrasto (Italy).

Piers Lewin is the musician behind Full of Noises. Full of Noises is dedicated to original music inspired by the Isles of Scilly – that beautiful sub-tropical archipelago scattered in the Atlantic Ocean 28 miles south west off Land’s End. All the music is recorded on the tiny island of St Agnes.

This event will be in-person at Exeter Custom House and is Pay What You Can. There is also the option to attend all of Alice’s events on Sunday 4th December by purchasing our Pay What You Can writer-in-residence all day ticket.

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.

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