We thought we’d share an early Halloween treat with you. This summer, as part of Quay Words summer 2019 at Exeter Custom House, we were proud to host our first international writer-in-residence Johann Thorsson. Thanks to the support of a grant from the British Council, Johann spent a week in Exeter getting to know the city and the historic Custom House.

Johann’s interest is in the genre of Noir and during his residency, he completed his first novel. Speaking of this Johann said:

I managed to complete my book, and on the very last evening in Exeter, I sent copies off to agents, both in the UK and in the US. I would say that the residency as such was a success, even beyond my hopes. […] It is no stretch to say that without the residency I would not have been able to complete my novel as well as I now have, nor would I have the confidence to start querying it around to agents. I had the most wonderful time in Exeter.

As his residency drew to a close, we asked him to pen a short story inspired by Exeter, the Custom House and its history. We’re pleased to share Styrjöld with you.

Photograph: Heida Helgadottir