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New film celebrates Exeter as a UNESCO City of Literature

Posted on 27 Nov 2023

WHAT: A short film made by local company Preston Street Films showcases Exeter as a UNESCO City of Literature
WHEN: Released on Monday, 27th November 2023
WHO: Exeter City of Literature and its Partnership Network members

The Exeter City of Literature charity has released a new short film to celebrate Exeter’s status as a UNESCO-designated City of Literature. The film features Libraries Unlimited and other members of its Partnership Network and the literary activity they produce throughout the city, from author events with Quay Words, plays with Beyond Face, festivals with Bookbag, and much more. Exeter was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2019 and will hold this title in perpetuity. It recognizes Exeter’s strong literary history, dating back over 1,000 years, and the city’s focus on literature and well-being within its cultural offer.

Exeter City of Literature commissioned local company Preston Street Films to shoot and edit the footage. Performance poet Shaday Barrowes-Bayewunmi recorded the voice-over, and freelance writer Duncan Moreland wrote the script. The film will be shown before all of the Powell & Pressburger and Dance First screenings at Exeter Phoenix in November and December.

Exeter has an unbroken history of reading and writing dating back over 1,000 years when the Exeter Book was created (itself recognized by UNESCO as one of the “world’s principal cultural artefacts”). Since then, the region has inspired writers from Charles Dickens to Agatha Christie; it’s been home to Hilary Mantel and Ted Hughes; and as a UNESCO City of Literature, it has brought world-renowned authors, Ukrainian poets, and international opportunities to the residents, students, and visitors of Exeter.

Anna Cohn Orchard, Executive Director of Exeter City of Literature says: “Culture shapes and defines a place and we’re proud that the literary sector, in all of its creative forms, is defining Exeter’s future as much as it did its past. There is so much literary and storytelling activity going on in Exeter–this film celebrates that and shows why Exeter is a UNESCO City of Literature. Every organization featured in the film–and the attendees, visitors, and writers connected to them–makes Exeter the vibrant City of Literature it is.”

Members of the Partnership Network featured in the film:


      Arts & Culture, University of Exeter

      Africa Writes and Roots Resistance

      Beyond Face


      Devon & Exeter Institution

      Exeter Cathedral

      Exeter College

      Exeter Northcott Theatre and Barnfield Theatre

      Exeter Phoenix

      Libraries Unlimited

      Literature Works and Quay Words



      Theatre Alibi

      University of Exeter – English Department, Modern Languages Department, and the Library and Special Collections

      Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health


For more information, please contact: Anna Cohn Orchard –

Powell & Pressburger films at Exeter Phoenix

Dance First at Exeter Phoenix

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.