Literature Works, on behalf of Exeter Canal and Quay Trust, is delighted to announce Quay Words at Exeter Custom House ‘Working Internationally’ thanks to a grant from the British Council.

Quay Words will work with the Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, which in 2021 celebrates its 25th festival. Exeter and Durban are both UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Jointly, between March and November, Quay Words and Poetry Africa will host a total of five free online networking, writer development and showcase days, celebrating writing by women in the UK and South Africa. Each of the five days will include a professional development session for four selected emerging writers, a larger informal networking event, and an early evening reading that pairs a UK-based writer with a South Africa-based writer.

The programme launches on 8th March 2021, International Women’s Day, with a live event featuring South Africa-based Efemia Chela, who is the Quay Words/English PEN digital writer-in-residence for February 2021 and Louisa Adjoa-Parker, who was the inaugural Quay Words writer-in-residence in July 2019. The project concludes on 25th November 2021, UN International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women and the launch in South Africa of 16 days of supporting activism.

Helen Chaloner, CEO of Literature Works said today:
“It’s thrilling to be able to pair Quay Words in Exeter with the wonderful work of Poetry Africa in Durban during the year of the 25th festival. We can put our shared experience of digital delivery to great use, pairing emerging and established writers in the two cities to create dialogue and to ignite inspiration.”

Ismail Mahomed, Director of the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, where Poetry Africa is based said:
“Poetry Africa is truly excited about this partnership. It is the largest spoken word poetry festival on the African continent. In 2021, the milestone of our 25th festival coincides with the 25th anniversary of the adoption of South Africa’s democratic constitution which in Section 9 of the Constitution has guaranteed a full range of rights for women, freedom of expression and freedom of creativity”.

This project is funded by British Council Literature’s Working Internationally grant programme.