– 1 –
Big Sur, California, USA
The glorious Pacific Coast Highway must be one of the most iconic and well-documented drives on the planet. Start out in the north and head out from John Steinbeck’s beloved Monterey, then hug the dramatic coastline described by authors and inhabitants Jack Kerouac , Henry Miller and Richard Brautigan.
Road trip reads: Cannery Row, Big Sur, Trout Fishing in America and Big Sur and The Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch
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Lake District, England
Discover the beautiful banks of Ullswater, where Wordsworth spotted his famous Daffodils, and unearth the other environments which inspired the Lake Poets . Then, get in touch with your inner child as you visit Beatrix Potter’s humble home near Lake Windermere and refamiliarise yourself with the Walker and Blackett families from Arthur Ransome’s seminal series.
Road trip reads: A Guide to the District of the Lakes, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Swallows and Amazons
– 3 & 4 –
Mexico City & Morelos, Mexico
Explore sprawling Mexico City, one time home of Carlos Fuentes and Roberto Bolano and the inspiration behind the socio-surreal works of Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz. Then, head south into the state of Morelos; a vast swathe of land that, thanks to its gentle climate and carnival-like atmosphere, has attracted both native and émigré writers like Malcolm Lowry and Elena Garro.
Road trip reads: ¿Águila o sol? (Heads or Tails), Where The Air Is Clear, Under the Volcano and Memories of the Future
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A literary scene has flourished in this breathtaking part of Italy since the 13th Century, when noted poets such as Dante and Petrarch proudly called it home. This same landscape then enamoured a veritable who’s who of key literary figures throughout the years, including greats such as Dickens, E.M. Forster and D.H. Lawrence.
Road trip reads: Inferno, Genoa (The Chimes), A Room With a View and Looking Down on the City
– 6 & 7 –
New England & Cape Cod, USA
The tranquil-looking landscapes of the northeastern United States have provided the locations for a plethora of books keen on investigating the darkness beneath the glamour, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work and Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. Poets such as Thoreau and Emerson were also inspired by the more rugged terrain, while Stephen King used the sinister characteristics of Maine for some of his scariest tomes.
Road trip reads: The Great Gatsby, The Maine Woods, Carrie and It
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The Outback, Australia
This vast, arid area – home to intriguingly titled towns such as Alice Springs and Coober Pedy – has always possessed a mystical, unearthly quality that has fired up the imagination of many a writer. Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally and Patrick White have all been compelled to document the destination on paper.
Road trip reads: True History of the Kelly Gang, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Tree of Man
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Patagonia, South America
Shared by Argentina and Chile, this enormous region compromises an extraordinary amount of differing environments; from stretches of deserts wastes to arctic areas replete with penguins. This incredible landscape has attracted all sorts to its often inhospitable expanses, including illustrious names such as Gerald Durrell, Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin.
Road trip reads: The Whispering Land, The Old Patagonian Express and In Patagonia
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Deep South, USA
From Florida to Texas, America’s Deep South has influenced a wealth of writers; from the comedic adventures of Mark Twain to the southern Gothic of Flannery O’Connor. Take the I-40 east to west and immerse yourself in the land so richly described by the like of Faulkner, McCullers and Harper Lee.
Road trip reads: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Sound and The Fury, The Heart is A Lonely Hunter and Wise Blood
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Cote D’Azur, France
Investigate the magnificent coast which stretches from Monaco to Toulon, which has acted as a refuge for authors such as Somerset Maugham, Aldous Huxley and Edith Wharton. It has also provided the serene setting for novels such as Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night and Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse.
– 12 –
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Head eastwards out of Cape Town and you’ll come to this mesmerising mountainous region, birthplace of prominent politicians Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. It is also the setting for classic cultural literature from the likes of JM Coetzee and is home to such eminent South African writers as Athol Fugard and Dennis Brutus.
Road trip reads: Long Walk to Freedom, Disgrace and A Simple Lust