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Introduction to the PenPals Exhibition

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Exhibition board relating to A.L.Rowse and his connection to Charles Causley

One of the strengths of the University of Exeter Special Collections is a rich collection of twentieth-century literary papers by writers associated with the south west of England, with more than more than thirty writers, poets and playwrights represented within the collections.

These writers all had links to the south west of England, and many of them knew one another. Some were friends, attended each other's parties or weddings, and even supported each with their literary works by reading drafts, comparing experiences or sharing advice.

This exhibition explores some of the letters that they wrote to one another and the personal connections that they forged. The letters reflect themes in both their work and personal interests, and offer an interesting insight into the private lives of these public figures.

This exhibition is a digital version of a free exhibition that was on display at several host venues around Exeter from August to September 2023. Each exhibition board features a letter from a writer to another. The trail can be followed (in any order) to trace a circle, starting and ending with A.L. Rowse, and including Charles Causley, Jack Clemo, Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier.

The venues hosting each of the exhibition boards are listed below:

Project team: Sarah-Jayne Ainsworth (Special Collections Team Leader) and Milly Earnshaw-White (University of Exeter Student Intern)