Other Worlds, Dame Nellie Melba and Oscar Wilde, Savoy Hotel
Two of the greatest performers of their time had an unlikely friendship, and crossed paths in London and Paris at key points in their lives.
The Geniuses, Gertrude Stein, Picasso and Matisse
27 rue de Fleurus, Paris
Gertrude Stein's Parisian salon was a crucible for the modernist genius of Picasso and Matisse, inspiring her own modernist writing.
Gazing Inward, Michel de Montaigne,
Montaigne's near death experience in mid life changed his thinking and altered the course of his life, giving rise to his brilliant essays.
Sylvia’s Lovers, Elizabeth Gaskell
A powerful historical novel about love, loss and hardship, set on the Yorkshire coast, by a writer who lived her life to the full.
The Inseparables, Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola,
The bond between schoolfriends Cézanne and Zola and their wild adventures in the land of Provence, had a profound impact on their work.
Scenes at the Fair, Thomas Hardy
The story behind Thomas Hardy’s masterpiece The Mayor of Casterbridge.
A Perfectly Good Man, Patrick Gale
A sensitive story about a priest and his family struggling with death, love, spirituality and relationships in a remote Cornish community.
Republic of Two, Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield
A story of friendship and rivalry between two highly creative women, united by their desire to create new writerly forms.
Lost and Found, David Bowie
Seventies Berlin is where Bowie found his way again, personally and musically, during one of the most fruitful periods of his life.
Man of Appetites, Alexandre Dumas
One of the great gastronomes of the nineteenth century began his dictionary of cuisine, in Roscoff, a seaside town of Brittany.
Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
A story about a boy gangster seething with rage and obsessed with hell and damnation, Brighton Rock remains chilling to this day.
A Turning Point, Simone de Beauvoir
After suffering a crisis in her twenties, Beauvoir restored her equilibrium in this city by the sea.
Travels with a Donkey, Robert Louis Stevenson
A travel tale threaded with longing for a woman Stevenson was not sure he would ever meet again.
A Late Flowering, Edith Wharton
With formidable energy, Wharton created a retreat in the south of France that lent warmth and beauty to her happy old age.
Messing About in Boats, Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows was written by a man wounded by loss and beguiled by a river.
A Real Home, Jane Austen’s Chawton
Chawton Cottage was Jane Austen’s last home before she died. It is where her genius flourished and her brilliant career was launched.
Close Encounters, Maar and Picasso
Known as Picasso’s ‘weeping woman’, Dora Maar was a significant artist. Her masochistic game at a cafe lit a dangerous fire.
A Thousand Bells, Colin McPhee
Enchanted by the music of the gamelan, in the 1930s composer Colin Mcphee spent seven years in Bali, the most creative period of his life.
Winter, Ali Smith
Book two of a seasonal quartet, a wintry tale that interweaves extraordinary current events with art, literature and history.
The Self-Unseeing, Thomas Hardy
Hardy’s childhood in Bockhampton helped shape him into one of the world’s most renowned poets and novelists.
A Tale of Two Ravens, Dickens and Poe
Charles Dickens's pet ravens inspired both his own work and later Poe's poetic masterpiece, 'The Raven'.
The Man Who Loved Children, Christina Stead
Watsons Bay Sydney
One of the great novels of the twentieth century is based on Christina Stead's monstrous father and disturbed childhood
A Dark, Diabolic Beauty, Daphne du Maurier,
Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
A perilous misadventure on Bodmin Moor inspired Daphne du Maurier’s bestselling novel Jamaica Inn.
The Charming Monster, Francoise Sagan
In 1954 Francoise Sagan’s debut novel, written at eighteen, changed the zeitgeist and launched her on a life of prolific writing, fame and in her words ‘frenzied debauchery’.
Claude Monet had two passions: for nature and for painting. At his house in Giverny they crystallised to create the landscapes for which he is world famous.
A Suitable Place for a Murder, Agatha Christie, Greenway House
Greenway was Agatha Christie's country home, where she could be herself, away from prying eyes. It also served as the setting for her novel Dead Man's Folly.
On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan
Chesil Beach Dorset
In the summer of 1962, two young innocents arrive on the Dorset coast for their honeymoon. What happens will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
The Revolutionists, Vanessa and Virginia Stephen
Number 22 Hyde Park Gate in London’s Kensington was the birthplace of the Stephen sisters, Vanessa (Bell) and Virginia (Woolf), two extraordinary women and pioneering artists.
A Madder Caress, Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis
In 1918, writers Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis ran away to Cornwall together to begin one of the most sizzling affairs in literary history.
One True Sentence, Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s literary career was forged in 1920s Paris, where he worked hard and soaked up the experiences and influences he needed to become a great writer.
The Freedom I Desired, Daphne du Maurier
From the moment she saw Fowey Harbour, Daphne du Maurier fell in love with Cornwall. It became the focus for much of her writing.
Valley of the Diamond Dust, Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
A bewitching memoir set in the Cotswolds recording the timeless events of a village on the cusp of change.
Louisa’s Fall, Jane Austen
The most dramatic incident in any of Jane Austen’s novels occurs in Persuasion, in Dorset's picturesque coastal town.
Cornwall: A Literary Introduction
A look at some of the writers who have been inspired by the landscape of England's far south western corner.
A Place for Grief, a Place for Love Katherine Mansfield,
The time Katherine Mansfield spent in Bandol provided respite, healing, happiness and a breakthrough in her writing.
Why go to Saint-Juliot? Thomas Hardy Meets Emma Gifford
St Juliot Cornwall
As a trainee architect, Thomas Hardy travelled to remote north-west Cornwall, and fell in love with the woman he met there, Emma Gifford.
Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy
Coorong National Park South Australia
A wild, windswept place, a boy and a pelican in a story that has become a rite of passage for generations of Australian children.
Honoré de Balzac: The Optical Gastronomer
While learning his craft in a garret Balzac soaked up Paris and its people on nocturnal wanderings he called 'optical gastronomy'.
Growing Pains, Daphne du Maurier
On the surface, Daphne du Maurier’s childhood and adolescence appear charmed. Yet conflicts about her sexuality, parental relationships, and shyness often left her feeling lost and confused.
Summer’s Breath, Shakespeare’s Birthplace
For all its brilliance and risk taking, Shakespeare's language bears the unmistakable stamp of a Midlands country boy.
A Lake, a Moon, a Sword, Morte d’Arthur, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Dozmary Pool, Cornwall
On the moors of Cornwall lies a lake steeped in myth, with links to Arthurian legend.
A New Chapter, Nancy Mitford at Heywood Hill Bookshop
10 Curzon Street Mayfair London
The Second World War changed Nancy Mitford’s life. She worked for Heywood Hill in his Mayfair bookshop, fell in love, and wrote her first bestseller.
Poldark, Mad Mike and Pilchards, Winston Graham
Penberth Cove, Cornwall
How I came to be scrambling over a set from the Poldark series just before dawn.
Donizetti’s Furtive Tear, Bergamo, Italy
A rags to riches story set in the Lombardy town of Bergamo
T.E. Lawrence’s Clouds Hill
Clouds Hill Dorset
After his Arab campaign, the widely celebrated TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) chose to live anonymously, and poured his heart into creating an unusual and humble home in Dorset.
He Left In Autumn
Keats House, Hampsted
‘Mr Keats left Hampstead’. Those are the words Fanny Brawne wrote in her pocket book the day Keats set out from London for Rome.
The Land of a Million Rice Fields, Yuan Phai, Tale of Lanna
Chiang Mai Thailand
This epic 15th century war poem describes the defeat of the ancient Lanna Kingdom of the north by the might of the Siamese army