Around 100 students and members of the public packed the new Exchange lecture theatre at Tremough Campus last Thursday for an illustrated talk by award-winning author and University College Falmouth Writer in Residence, Philip Marsden.

Philip discussed his latest book, The Levelling Sea, which tells the story of how Falmouth rose to become one of the busiest ports in the world and played an important role in Britain's maritime history.

Last month, the book was awarded a prestigious Certificate of Merit at the Maritime Media Awards for its outstanding literary contribution to an understanding of Britain's maritime heritage.

As a well-known Cornwall-based author, Philip drew a large number of Falmouth residents to the talk, some of whom had not previously visited the University College.

The talk took in the history of the prominent Killigrew family and their influence on the town, and outlined the way in which the burgeoning maritime culture and new ship design in the late Tudor period “liberated Britain.”

Among the many fascinating details that the author revealed was the fact that Falmouth for many years suffered a higher incidence of cholera than anywhere else in Cornwall.

After the talk, visitors were treated to a glass of wine in The Exchange's Social Street. A representative from The Falmouth Bookseller was on hand with copies of The Levelling Sea to give people the chance to pick up a signed copy of an educational yet hugely entertaining Cornish-themed book in time for Christmas.

This autumn, Philip has run a highly successful series of writing workshops at University College Falmouth, and students have also enjoyed opportunities to have one-to-one tutorials with a writer whose work spans fiction, travel writing and narrative history.

Philip was the first Writer in Residence in the new programme launched by the University College in October. He will be followed by the prolific poet, writer and broadcaster Owen Shears, the best-selling novelist Louis de Bernières and the Orange award-winning novelist and journalist Lionel Schriver.

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