Patrick Gale was the Quay Words Autumn 2020 writer-in- residence.

The theme of the Quay Words Autumn season was ‘Wellbeing’, which is at the heart of Exeter’s programme as a UNESCO City of Literature and Quay Words is a pillar of that programme. Patrick hosted a series of events and opportunities exploring the pleasure and the many positive impacts of reading and writing. Patrick hosted events with bibliotherapist and writer Ella Berthoud and another with novelist and psychotherapist Salley Vickers. At his own solo event, Patrick looked at how mental health runs as theme through his writing. During the residency, Patrick worked with six emerging writers, who read alongside him at the end of his residency at a ‘Quay Voices’ event, our strand showcasing emerging writers on the same bill as the established writer who has mentored them.

Patrick said of his residency:
“I’m thrilled to have been writer-in-residence in such a stunning and atmospheric old building as the Custom House and to have helped put together a series of public events there around the theme of Wellbeing. Now more than ever we need the healing power of reading and writing.”

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.

Photo: Markus Bidaux