Writing Places

What inspired the likes of Agatha Christie, Coleridge and others to pen some of the nation’s best-loved works? This year's Writing Places programme invites you to find out.

This summer Writing Places will bring together a range of activity for literature lovers in the South West, to celebrate the work of the great writers and poets who both lived in and were inspired by these special places. 
What makes an author tick? How do you pen a great read? Through a choice of workshops, practical demonstrations, plus the chance to meet the our writers in residence, literature lovers are welcome to find out what inspired the likes of Agatha Christie, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and some of today's writers and poets.

Get closer

The project will also be winkling out some good old literary gossip. At Greenway, Agatha Christie tried out plots on holidaying family and friends. At Nether Stowey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's home near Bridgwater, he wrote 'Frost at Midnight' whilst cradling a sleeping child.
If you love your literature, visiting these places as part of an author event will bring these great literary figures closer, revealing something of their genius and of their every-day natures.
Work at A la Ronde has revealed the travel writings of Jane and Mary Parminter, noted on their grand tour of Europe in the eighteenth century. These two spinster cousins had this extraordinary sixteen-sided house built for them, but their literary work was never published at the time, most likely because they were women.

What can I do?

From 11 May, the Writing Places project celebrates the sometimes hidden literary history of National Trust houses with author events, writers and poets in residence, open days and trails.

Meet poet Miriam Nash (at Greenway) and author Jane Feaver (at A la Ronde) as they take up their posts as writers in residence, join talks with Lucinda Lambton and poet Ian McMillan, or pen your own piece at a free Writing Places workshop this summer.

There is a dedicated blog for the project at www.writingplaces.org


Where can I visit?

There are a range of talks, hands-on workshops and activities to take part in.


Is your pen poised? Join Miriam Nash, writer in residence at Greenway at her next workshop in July.

The writer as collector - Wednesday 13 July, 7-9pm

Come away from this writing workshop with the draft of a new poem, some feedback from Miriam and hopefully some ideas towards future writing. Miriam will be exploring how Agatha Christie and her family were great collectors, and Greenway is filled with objects they gathered from across the globe. 
To find out more about the above, click here

A la Ronde

Curious about writing, calligraphy and more? Jane Feaver, our writer in residence at A la Ronde will be putting herself in the boots of the Parminter cousins who travelled widely on the Grand Tour and brought home a fascinating collection of writing, art and artefacts.

Join Jane Feaver – 23 July, 11am - 3pm

A La Ronde’s writer in residence, Jane Feaver, will be on hand to encourage visitors to write postcards for a postcard competition as if they were the Parminter cousins on their Grand Tour. The competition will culminate in an exhibition of postcards in October and Jane will be picking winners from the following categories:

Under 10's, 11 - 13 years, 14 - 17 years and adults.

An evening with Lucinda Lambton - 23 July, 6pm

Lucinda Lambton is a writer, photographer and broadcaster.  She has researched, written and presented some 55 films for the BBC as well as approximately 25 for ITV.  They include On The Throne - The History of the Lavatory; The Great North Road - the architectural wonders from Edinburgh to London; A Cabinet of Curiosities - of strange collections - such as jewels made from the thighs of flies - that were the foundations of Britain's museums; The Other House of Windsor - The Duke and Duchess of Windsor's house in Paris.
Tickets cost £15.00pp plus a £0.75 booking fee, click here to book a place.

Storytelling with David Heathfield - 24 July, 11am - 3pm

For every shell, feather and mosaic the Parminter cousins built into their new sixteen sided home, there are stories to tell.  Join David to be enchanted by folk tales commonly told among young local artisans, guides and hawkers who made, gave and sold Jane, Elizabeth and Mary Parminter these mementoes on their grand tour through France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal.  Visitors are free to join in as they wish, each session starting with David sounding his conch shell.

Book binding & conservation demonstrations - 25 July, 11am - 4pm

Come and enjoy demonstrations on book binding with the Society of Book Binders.

We are also lucky enough to have Jo Hughes, Books and Library Materials Conservator in with demonstrations on book conservation.  Jo trained as a Book Conservator at West Dean College for two years, graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation and Preservation of Books and Library Materials.  Jo now runs her own business and has been involved in various projects with the National Trust.

Author talk with Robin Stevens - 26 July, 11am - 4pm

Children's author - Robin Stevens will be doing a talk at 1pm followed by a Q&A session and book signing.  Join bestselling author of the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, Robin Stevens, as she talks about her mysterious books and shares some of the secrets of the Detective Society.

'Book Worms' children's crafts will also be available during the day in the marquee.

You may have missed:


Typing a tweet - Wednesday 11 May
Vintage typewriters will be dotted around Greenway so that visitors can type out a Greenway-inspired tweet (140 characters or less). Writer-in-residence, Miriam Nash, will be on hand to help to get those type-tweeting juices flowing.
Meet Miriam - Wednesday 11 May
This evening event in the House Kitchen is an opportunity chance to Miriam, hear some of her work, ask her questions and share what’s inspiring about Greenway.
Crooked houses - Thursday 12 May, 11am-1pm
For this creative writing workshop, Miriam will be looking at how, in many of Christie's works, the character of a house plays an important role in the unravelling mystery. 
Poetry picnic - Wednesday 15 June, 5.30-7.30pm
Bring along a picnic and something to sit on and enjoy an evening of poetry in the Walled Garden. Miriam will share some of her own work as well as hosting a poetry open mic.

Coleridge Cottage

An evening with Ian McMillan - 27 June

The ‘Writing Places’ project is a partnership between the National Trust and Literature Works, and is funded by the Arts Council.