Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England, the now publicly owned ancestral home of Lord Byron, has just opened a new exhibition of objects on loan from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth showing the influence that Byron had on the Brontë family who grew up in the years after his death in 1824.
Richard Booth, who died on August 19 aged 80, established the small market town of Hay-on-Wye (Y Gelli Gandryll) in Wales as the world’s first book town.
As sales of audiobooks rise, so there are also increasing numbers of literary podcasts to cater for readers interested in listening to book discussions. In the UK, there is a particular dearth of radio programs about books, especially those not recently published, so both Backlisted and the Slightly Foxed podcast are very welcome.
The new exhibition Writing in Times of Conflict at the Senate House Library, University of London, in Bloomsbury, looks at how writers have worked towards peace in their work over the last 100 years. Using examples from the library’s own collection, the works are divided into four sections: Writing for Peace, Writing in Wartime, Writing from Exile, and Writing in Protest.
Last month, the York Civic Trust in York, England, erected a plaque celebrating the life of Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800), who co-founded the Bluestocking movement and whose home in London became the must-attend literary salon of the day.
Jane Austen’s House Museum in England is hoping a crowdsourcing appeal will safeguard one of the author’s letters from being sold into private hands.
The National Trust holds around 400,000 titles in their 160 historic properties in the UK. Rarities includes William Caxton’s 1487 Lyme Missal at Lyme Park in Cheshire and the first edition of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, given by the author to Eddy Sackville-West while he was living at Knole. The charity is also increasingly putting its finest items on display, and there are currently two excellent exhibitions at Peckover House and Blickling Estate.
Firsts: London’s Rare Book Fair, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association's annual flagship event, opens its doors for the 62nd time in the capital in June. There will be plenty on view with more than 150 exhibitors from fifteen countries presenting signed first editions, maps, manuscripts, art, and ephemera.
Charles Dickens was one of the first global literary superstars who finessed his personal brand with a careful eye on an international reading public – indeed, a tenth of the books in his private library are related to travel.
Literary tourism is big business. While new book festivals continue to spring up, recent research from the VisitEngland tourist board indicated that more than half of British holidaymakers would visit a literary attraction on vacation. Another increasingly popular way of combining books with holidays is to visit one of the dozens of small villages and towns around the world devoted to bookselling.