Agatha Christie was born and raised in Torquay and throughout her life she returned to the area and South Devon more widely.
During the First World War she trained and worked as a Red Cross nurse in the temporary soldiers’ hospital housed at Torquay Town Hall. In 1916, she completed her first novel at the Moorlands Hotel near Haytor on the edge of Dartmoor. In 1938 she and her husband Max Mallowan bought the estate of Greenway near Kingswear, which remained her beloved family retreat with its idyllic prospect overlooking the River Dart; now a National trust property, you can even visit Greenway House.
Thousands of visitors come to South Devon every year to visit the places that inspired Agatha Christie’s books and imagination.
Torquay in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a small town that brought many of the great minds and inventors of the day to visit its temperate climate, outstanding coastline, as well as its sites of renowned geological significance. Writers such as Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Henry James, the visionary modern dancer Isadora Duncan, as well as the pioneering mathematician and inventor Oliver Heaviside, were just some of the figures that had visited and lived in Torquay during the time that Agatha Christie was growing up and writing her first stories. It is with this in mind and the distant horizons that she travelled across her own life, such as to the archaeological sites of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations in Iraq and Syria from the 1930s to the 1950s as recounted in her book “Come, Tell Me How You Live” (1946), that IACF has begun an ongoing investigation and reflection of stories hidden near and far, to inspire imaginations and the different possibilities of literature – whether in music, film, visual arts and dance – shared across our own diverse cultures and histories.
With a year-round programme of artist and writer residencies, commissions and collaborative projects, including working with health, cultural tourism and education partners, as well as its now annual September festival event, The International Agatha Christie Festival works to nurture creativity, cultural excellence and diversity through artistic programmes in Torbay, across the UK and internationally.
We receive support from Arts Council England and a number of other organisations, including The Linbury Trust; and we receive sponsorship from HarperCollins UK.
WHO WE ARE
Board Members:Heather Norman-Soderlind (Chair); David Brawn, HarperCollins UK; Carolyn Custerson, English Riviera BID Company; Chris Hart, Wollen Michelmore Solicitors; Mathew Prichard CBE; John Rowe, Francis Clark Chartered Accountants; Kevin Mowat, Torbay Council.
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PRESS & MEDIA
For all press and media requests relating to the International Agatha Christie Festival including interviews, features, images and film footage, please contact the Festival Office.
For information on Agatha Christie, her work, life and licensing/rights, please contact Lydia Stone, Marketing & Communications Manager, Agatha Christie Ltd. Telephone +44 (0)20 3793 6566. www.agathachristie.com