© Jon Craig, courtesy Bristol Festival of Ideas

Literature

Both Bath and Bristol enjoy a rich literary heritage and have fostered generations of poets and novelists

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Period dramas

There’s no escaping Bath’s passion for Jane Austen. She lived here for only five years, but you can still retrace her steps to see the city which features in two of her novels – Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Find out more about her at the Jane Austen Centre, stand on the spots where the films of her books were shot, and immerse yourself in Regency life at the Jane Austen Festival.

Other authors closely associated with the city include Charles Dickens, Henry Fielding and the teenage Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein while living in a Bath boarding house as she endured public scandal and family crises.

Read and rights

Bath has two annual high-profile literary events: in May, the Bath Festival now encompasses the long-running Literature Festival, and in September, the popular Children’s Literature Festival – the largest event of its kind in Europe.

In Bristol, the Cultural Development Partnership provides a forum for debate in events that promote the work of leading international writers and thinkers; its Festival of Ideas is so successful that it now runs year round.

Poetry and devotion

Bristol played a significant part in the Romantic Movement in the early 18th century when the city was a hub for some of the movement's finest poets: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and the icon of tortured genius, Thomas Chatterton (whose family were sextons of St Mary Redcliffe). The city’s contribution to a string of maritime yarns has inspired a Treasure Island Trail. More recently, authors Angela Carter and Helen Dunmore have used their adopted city as a setting for their best-selling novels. 

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