ColeridgeA new partnership to celebrate the rich literary heritage of South West has been set up by three charities, Literature Works, the National Trust and The Poetry Archive.

Literature Works, the Literature Development Charity for the South West, has entered into an exciting new partnership with The National Trust to create a fantastic new literary venture called ‘Writing Places’ which also sees The Poetry Archive collecting and archiving poetry recordings. Writing Places is a pilot project funded by the Arts Council and designed to celebrate literature and its place in our history by placing Writers-In-Residence at four National Trust properties in the South West.

The literary and heritage project aims to broaden audiences for literature events and to encourage public engagement with creative reading and writing as well as bringing these inspirational National Trust places to a wider audience.

Initially focusing on four former writers homes cared for by the National Trust in the South West: Max Gate, Coleridge Cottage, Greenway and A la Ronde, homes of Thomas Hardy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Agatha Christie and journal writers and cousins, Jane & Mary Parminter, respectively, ‘Writing Places’ hopes to help audiences engage with the places where some of the greatest writers of our literary canon became inspired to imagine and write the works that have become their legacy.

Speaking about the opportunities the project will provide for the public and for aspiring writers, Lawrence Roots, Visitor Experience Consultant for the National Trust said, “Writing Places is a large scale project looking at literary sites and landscapes and how they can be used to inspire audiences today about their literary history. This pilot will also test ideas for future National Trust plans across England as to how we look at literary landscapes and heritage.”

Literature Works will place Writers-In-Residence into the four National Trust houses with a mission to engage with the general public and running creative writing workshops for emerging writers and inspiring and encouraging new talent to get their work into the public domain. In addition, there will be literary trails within each property for visitors to engage with and the four places will also play host to four keynote speakers who will discuss not only the authors under focus, but also the ways in which they have been inspired by these prominent figures in literary history.

The public will be able to experience ‘Writing Places’ by attending open days that will offer opportunities to take literary trails and guided tours of the literary collections at each property and they will also be able to participate in storytelling, readings and workshops to broaden their awareness of the property’s literary heritage. Aiming to reach audiences interested in literary heritage on an international level, our dedicated website will include Writer-In-Residence blogs as well as a selection of poems inspired by each of the properties and recorded by The Poetry Archive and made available from their site. Audiences will also be encouraged to comment on and discuss their experiences by engaging with online projects and activities which look at innovative ways for new audiences to get involved with their literary heritage.

“Literature Works are delighted to be working with the National Trust on this project” said Literature Works CEO, Tracey Guiry. “The chance to bring together some of the UK’s most talented writers with some of the most iconic buildings in literary history is a fantastic opportunity. This project will explore ways to bring new perspectives to some of the wonderful literary heritage of this country whilst encouraging readers and writers of the future and The Poetry Archive is the perfect partner to make poetry accessible to a wide audience”.

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