aune head arts


Come and celebrate the 200th Birthday of Charles Dickens at Kingsbridge and Exeter Central Libraries

Kingsbridge Library Tuesday 7th February 7pm arrival for 7.30pm start

Exeter Central Library Wednesday 8th February 7pm arrival for 7.30pm start

A famous author nears the end of his life. One afternoon , as he works on his final novel, memories of his past creations come upon him. He lays aside his pen, and, in the manner of one remembering old friends, begins to share his memories with us: alternately musing on his background and conjuring up characters from his works.

So begins a wonderful, atmospheric one-man show. As it illustrates the lives of his characters, so it comes to illuminate that of Charles Dickens (‘The Squire of Gadshill’) himself.

Devon and Exeter in particular has several links to Dickens including a visit to the Exeter Royal Public Rooms in 1858 after which he wrote:

"We had the most wonderful night in Exeter. It is to be regretted that we cannot take the place again on our way back. It was a prodigious cram and we turned away no end of people. But not only that; I think they were the finest audience I have ever read to."

Tickets for both events £5 including a glass of wine and nibbles.

Kingsbridge tickets from the library or phone 01548 852315

Exeter Central tickets from the Phoenix Arts Centre Box Office in person, on 01392 667080 or on the door on the night.

Can you read up to 12 books by the Devon Wordquest Authors before the start of the Olympics?

Wordquest Devon is a great opportunity to explore the literature and landscape of Devon. You can borrow and read books by Wordquest writers from Devon Libraries. If your library doesn't have a book on the shelf it can be reserved and obained from another library.

There are even prize incentives to read 6 or 12 Wordquest books before the Olympics opening cermony. If you've already read, say, a book by Dickens, you can immediately mark it as read.

Simply pick up a Wordquest bookmark and challenge card from your library or download it below and use it to record which authors you’ve read. Show it to library staff who will then stamp your challenge card.

12 stamps will enter you into a draw to win an annual National Trust Family membership. 6 stamps will give you a chance to win one of several £10 Book Tokens.

To help you in your challenge, you can reserve books by any of the Wordquest Devon writers from the library, free!

Remember, joining the library is free. Borrowing books is free. Join online or at your local library.

For more information about libraries in Devon:

If you wish to look up or reserve books written by Wordquest writers ask library staff or check the online library catalogue:

Wordquest Poetry Competition

Wordquest is launching a Devon wide poetry competition for young people.

We are asking young people to write a poem about their favourite place in Devon, from their garden to their attic, to the wild moors or sandy beaches. 

The age categories are as follows:

5-7 years / 8-10 years / 11-13 years / 14-16 years



And, of course, let's not forget the prizes for each category:

1st Prize
                                              2nd Prize                                             3rd Prize
£25 Book Token                                   £15 Book Token                                   £5 Book Token
Certificate                                           Certificate                                            Certificate  


All prize winners will be invited to read their work on Wordquest Devon’s Radio Programme on Soundart Radio – 102.5fm and also have their poems published on the Wordquest Devon and Devon Libaries Websites.

To read the guidelines and download an entry form, please follow this link

Wordquest FM
Every Thursday at 10am
Soundart Radio 102.5fm (listen live to Soundart Radio).
If you're in the Totnes/Dartington area you can listen on your radio, otherwise listen at You can also listen to repeats here on wordquestfm-online.
Join Richard Povall and guests for Wordquest FM on Soundart Radio

My Favourite Words
Charlie Henry's My Favourite Words sound installation is now running. We will be inviting you to contribute your own words - more information to follow. You need iTunes or another mp3 player in order to listen to the piece. [The piece was made in recordings by Megan Hoggins and others, with programming by Richard Povall.)

previous events

John Keats and Teignmouth: Landscape and Uses of the Past

This lecture was part of the University of Exeter lecture series for Wordquest Devon, supported by the Teign Heritage Centre

Thursday 3 November, 7pm           

The Teign Room, Teign Heritage Centre, 29 French Street, Teignmouth, TQ14 8ST

When the poet John Keats moved to Teignmouth, the rain fell in sheets and heavy mists rolled in from the sea.  In a March 1818 letter to a friend, he describes Devon as ‘a splashy, rainy, misty, snowy, foggy, haily, floody, muddy, slipshod county.’ This weather coincided with creative frustrations and fears about tuberculosis and death. Still, Keats produced some surprisingly idealized, bucolic poetry about the Devon landscape, its history and its people. Where does this nostalgic ‘poetry of place’ fit in Keats’ canon? 

Why was the time spent in Teignmouth followed by a watershed year in his life and career, in which he produced such great poems as The Eve of St. Agnes, the Odes, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and Lamia?

In this lecture, Dr Corinna Wagner, Lecturer in Romanticism and Gothic Literature at the University of Exeter will ask these questions and show images of the places that may have inspired Keats.



Ronald Duncan: Poetry, Plays, Opera and Exploding Pigs – a life in Devon

Free Public Lecture - Thursday 13 October, 1pm

Burton Art Gallery & Museum
Kingsley Road
EX39 2QQ


Ronald Duncan pictureRonald Duncan lived at Welcombe on the north Devon coast from the mid-1930s until 1982. He was a writer who was also a farmer and a landowner. During that time his visitors included composer Benjamin Britten and singer Kathleen Ferrier, Lord Harewood, and the glamorous actresses Virginia Maskell and Anna Proclemer. During the Second World War he set up a pacifist community working land between Hartland and Welcombe. After the war he wrote plays that made him prominent on the London stage. He established the Devon Festival in the 1950s, and later founded the Royal Court Theatre in London. His tangled personal life is described in his autobiographies. He died in Bideford hospital.

In this lecture, Dr Alan Munton draws on Duncan’s books about Devon life, and the writer’s extensive literary archive at Exeter University, to describe a fascinating experiment in culture and rural living.

This lecture is part of the University of Exeter lecture series for Wordquest Devon, supported by Burton Art Gallery & Museum.


Entry to the talk is free but advance booking is essential.


To reserve your seat tel: 01392 725879 or email:


Exeter Uni Arts logo


Free Creative Writing Workshops - A Short History of the Future of Dartmoor

copyright of DNP

Dartmoor’s stunning landscape, inspiring history and fascinating present provided the backdrop to our imaginative exploration of its future.

Starting with a discussion of today’s plans for the National Park, then transported to 2084, where we will heard from a future representative of the Dartmoor National Park Authority, who presented a short history of how those plans worked out. Then, participants worked together and separately to create their own stories set in that imagined future.


Run by Exeter University's Writer in residence, Claire George

Thursday 15th September 10.30am to 4.00pm

Endecott House, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8AJ

Wednesday 21st September 2011 10.30am to 4.00pm

St Lawrence’s Chapel, St. Lawrence Lane, Ashburton, Devon TQ13 7DD

Wednesday 28th September 2011 10.30am to 4.00pm

The Wharf, Canal Road, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 8AT

Download more information here

STORYTRAIL began on 24 July 2011 at The Tors Inn, Belstone (despite the rather rotten weather which made things hard to find!)

Letterboxing Links with Storytelling on Dartmoor

Using the concepts behind Dartmoor Letterboxing, five boxes were hidden along a circular route starting and finishing in Belstone Village.  Each box held a book containing a story in progress –– after finding a box, participants were asked to add a sentence to the story in the manner of 'chain stories'.  Project artist Charlie Henry explains:  "In keeping with Wordquest Devon's links to the Cultural Olympiad, the Dartmoor Storytrail borrows from the concept of relay-race running and turns it into a relay-race of literary imagination."

This participatory 'build a story' activity allowed chance encounters and collaboration combining a variety of voices in the development of new Dartmoor stories.  According to Charlie:  "I want the concept to leave space for people’s ideas to collide and cross-fertilize and, hopefully, brew a few brilliant new stories for all to enjoy!"  Participants were challenged to find and add to the evolving story in each book.

The boxes remained in place on Dartmoor to be discovered, added to and replaced in their hiding spots until the closing event on Saturday 24th, September. Go here for more informationstorytrail composite image

TOMBOLA! at the Ways with Words Festival: a special event by artist Paula Crutchlow. 12 July 2011
The tombola contained either PRIZES or TASKS. If you won a prize, you won one of a number of prizes donated by writers from across Devon (thanks folks!); but if you won a TASK you had to go off and perform your task (eg "Sit in the White Hart Bar and listen in on a literary conversation. Come back to the marquee and report back."). Great fun was had by all, and although all the tasks were given out, not all the prizes were (hmmm, rigged tombola???).


More info here and pictures here.

STORYSEAT. A come-one-come-all readings event,part of the Exeter Fringe Festival, held at Boston Tea Party. June 30 2011

Wordquest FLASHMOB Launch Event - Exeter Fringe Festival by artist Charlie Henry (with Megan Hoggins) 25 June 2011
Exeter Cathedral Green
Fancy dancing with flying books, led by a 'librarian', while reading out bits of prose and poetry written about Devon?  At 11:00am on Saturday, June 25, gather on Exeter Cathedral Green at the Wordquest Devon marquee (near the War Memorial and Processional Steps) to dance with words and get involved at the start of fifteen months of walks, writings, readings –– a hodgepodge of creative events and activities celebrating the richness of Devon's inspiration of the writers of the past and those of the present!

launch compil

Plath in Devon: a lecture by Prof. Tim Kendall at The University of Exeter. June 1 2011

The American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) moved to North Tawton in Devon with her husband Ted Hughes during September 1961. There she wrote most of the poems which were published posthumously in her best-known volume.

Writing Workshop with Clare George (resident writer at The University of Exeter) Lynton Village Hall. 26 May 2011.

Exhibition/Display of Devon-related books at Exeter Central Library, 4-8 April 2011
Holmes on Screen Lecture by Nick Rennison, Exeter Central Library, March 10 2011
Wordquest Boxes at locations across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth. Hand-made boxes explaining the project and soliciting feedback and contributions. These were first placed in December 2010 and will travel to various places throughout the project.



| home | events | calendar | feature | join in| downloads | map | links | about | contact |


Wordquest Devon funders


Find out more about the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England who are the primary funders for this project. We're grateful for their support.

Wordquest Devon is a project of Devon Libraries, the University of Exeter, Cyprus Well and Aune Head Arts
managed by Aune Head Arts, a Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England & Wales No. 347853; Registered Charity No. 1141626
Reg. office: The Gallery, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EP
ph: 01364 72046  e: 

page last update19-Jan-2012 10:11ndDate -->
website designed and maintained by aune head arts