Bridport born Musician, poet and twice Mercury Prize winner PJ Harvey was at Dorset museum to gift the proof of her narrative poem, Orlam to the museum at the same time Grace Peters-Clarke was there as winner of our Black Writer in Residency scheme. They got to talk poetry, writing and went behind the scenes at the museum.

From Dorsethills in the Caribbean to… Dorset

Grace Peters-Clarke grew up in the Dorsethills in the Caribbean and now lives in Birmingham where she teaches English in a secondary school. ‘It was fascinating to experience a museum through the lense of those who work behind the scenes,’ she said about her time at Dorset Museum, ‘and to see first hand the vast collection of artefacts that are painstakingly archived. I was inspired by Hardy’s Dorset gallery and the Elisabeth Frink collection, that writing is often bred by landscapes, artefacts, the cultures of the spaces in which it is created.’

‘Wonderful opportunity.’ Residency mentor Kit de Waal

‘I’m delighted to be part of the Black Writer Residency,’ says best selling author and former Bridport Prize winner and judge, Kit de Waal.  ‘Too often we are thought of as only urban writers, concerned with inner cities and housing estates but here is the chance for unpublished writers to experience Hardy country and enjoy writing in a rural environment. It’s a wonderful opportunity.’

Kit de Waal’s My Name Is Leon novel coming to BBC One

Kit de Waal’s best selling novel My Name Is Leon was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and is coming soon to BBC One in an adaptation with Sir Lenny Henry OBE (The Lord Of The Rings); Christopher Eccleston (The A Word); Shobna Gulati (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Cole Martin in his first TV role.

Lord Paul Boateng: ‘A great idea.’

Lord Paul Boateng, the UK’s first black cabinet minister sent his congratulations, calling the residency ‘a great idea.’

Behind the scenes at Dorset Museum

The residency base is at Dorset museum, which reopened in May 2021 following a £16.4m redevelopment. Grace explored the new and inspiring spaces developed as part of the project including four permanent galleries and the Museum Library. The Museum’s Interim Director Elizabeth Selby also gave Grace the opportunity to explore behind the scenes in the new Collections Discovery Centre, where a large proportion of the museum’s treasure trove of four million objects are stored.

Elizabeth Selby, Interim Director of Dorset Museum said: ‘We’re excited to see how the two writers will take inspiration from the Museum, our collections and the wider experience of spending a week in Dorset. We can’t wait to how this experience shapes their writing during and after their visit.’

June sees the next writer in residency at the museum

The next black writer residency is at Dorset Museum in June and features winner, StephenJohn Holgate. Watch this space!

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