Travels with a Donkey, Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson’s well-loved travel tale is threaded with longing for the love of a woman he was not sure he would ever meet again.
A Late Flowering, Edith Wharton
With formidable energy, Edith Wharton created a retreat in the south of France that lent golden light, warmth and beauty to her happy old age.
Messing About in Boats, The Wind in the Willows Story, Kenneth Grahame
This beloved children’s book was written by a man who, wounded by loss and beguiled by a river, remained an imaginative boy.
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, Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso
Known as Picasso’s ‘weeping woman’, Maar was a significant artist. Her masochistic game at a cafe lit a passionate and dangerous fire.
The Stirring of 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, an intriguing wintry tale, that interweaves extraordinary current events with art, literature and history.
The Self-Unseeing, Thomas Hardy
Hardy’s childhood in Bockhampton played a significant role in shaping him into one of the world’s most renowned poets and novelists.
A Tale of Two Ravens, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe
Charles Dickens based the raven Grip in Barnaby Rudge on his own extraordinary raven pets, and these later inspired 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 the mysterious 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.
Here was 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 and her lifelong passion.
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