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Creative WritingPosted by Barbara Tue, August 01, 2017 02:32:20

I’m out in Canada at the moment: part holiday, part work. I have just presented an academic paper at the IRSCL conference at York University, Toronto and given the carbon imprint this creates, I maximised the time by combining it with a family holiday. (And Toronto is a fantastic place, if anyone’s got the opportunity to go).

One of the other joys of going on holiday, for me, is taking a ‘pile’ of books to read (these days, mostly on an e-reader, to save space in an already burgeoning suitcase). And what I love to do is create a reading list inspired by the place I’m visiting.

It used to be that this involved a trip to a big bookstore in the hope that they had a suitably informed member of staff or a well-stocked and clearly-labelled section of literature inspired by a certain place.

Now, of course, there’s a website that does it for you. TripFiction allows a keen reader to key in their destination and the site will offer you a list of books set there. For me, Canada is a bit of a gift because some of the authors I already love are from there and/or base their fiction there: Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Carol Shields, for example. And I’ve also taken some novels I have never read, such as Anne Michaels’ The Winter Vault and Michael Ondaatje’s The Skin of a Lion. It’s a kind of literary playlist.

As it happens, two of my books set in the north-east UK feature on this site too: In Too Deep in the fictionalised Dowerby (which is very, very like Alnwick) and The Serpent House, inspired by Spittal. (Authors: it’s very easy to register your works if they have a real setting).

Anyone else tailor their holiday reading around their destination? Given that TripFiction even exists, I guess I am not alone!

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