Nine of the best books about New Zealand

Catlins, New Zealand

Despite being a relatively young country, there is a wealth of great books by New Zealand authors. Many of these are books set in New Zealand, but others, like Elizabeth Knox’s The Vintner’s Luck, or Lloyd Jones’ Mr Pip, take place offshore.

For the purposes of this list of the best books about New Zealand though, I have focused on titles that were both written by Kiwis and take place on the islands of Aotearoa.

Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS, USA

Rowan Oak, Oxford MS

The driveway to Rowan Oak, home of Nobel laureate, William Faulkner, is fringed with tall red cedar trees on either side of the driveway, and countless native Mississippi plants grow in the gardens and woods nearby. A rowan oak is not amongst them, however, as the tree does not exist and the house’s name is derived instead from the rowan tree, which, from Greek mythology, is a symbol of courage, strength, and protection. Prior to the author and his wife, Estelle, purchasing the property in 1930, it was known as “the Bailey place” and the 29 acres of surrounding wooded property remain known as the Bailey Woods.

The Tangerinn, Tangier, Morocco

El-Muniria Hotel and The Tangerinn, Tangier, Morocco

Photo credit: Kent MacElwee on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND Website: Physical address: 1 Rue Magellan, Tangier Phone number: +212 613 321594 Business hours: 8pm-midnight daily DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy something after clicking our link to the retailer, we make a small commission on the sale. You … Read more

Gertrude and Alice bookstore, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Gertrude and Alice Book Shop, Sydney NSW, Australia

Named for the famed Paris-based expat authors, Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, the Gertrude & Alice bookshop in Sydney’s Bondi suburb provides a literary twist to the predominantly surf- and beach-focused shopping area. Combining a love of food and a love of the written word, Gertrude & Alice is home to literary tens of thousands of new and used books, covering walls, floors and tables, and somewhere in between there’s a café serving breakfast and lunch, and all kinds of tea and coffee. Keep an eye out for the G&A chai tea, their signature drink.

Mary Poppins statue, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

Mary Poppins statue, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

Standing 5’ tall and weighing only 100kg, this unassuming bronze statue of Mary Poppins, the world’s most famous nanny, keeps an eye on the comings and goings in Kent Street and Richmond Lane, in Maryborough (Queensland, Australia). With her umbrella pointed skyward, she looks ready to take off at any moment, but with tourists constantly popping by to take photographs with her, she has been stuck in once place since being commissioned in 2005.

Seven travel bloggers’ best literary travel stories

Hans Christian Andersen House, Odense

There are thousands of literary travel destinations all around the world. Visiting them can enhance your understanding of an author’s work – not to mention blow out your travel budget and to be read list on new books! – but not all of them are equally worth your time and hard-earned cash. So how do you know which places you should add to your bucket list, and which are best visited in your imagination? In this post, seven travel bloggers have taken the time to tell you about their experiences with some of the world’s best literary destinations.

Mark Twain Birthplace Historic Site, Florida MO, USA

Mark Twain Birthplace Cabin, Florida MO

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was born in a two-room house in Florida, Missouri, in November 1835. The location where the house stood is marked with a stone memorial to the author, who lived in the town for the first four years of his life.

Eagle and Child, Oxford, UK

Eagle and Child, Oxford

Established as a public house in 1650, The Eagle and Child in Oxford has a history as long as any, and even before that it played its part in the Civil War – as a playhouse for the Royalist soldiers who were stationed in the city between 1642 and 1649. This is not the pub’s only link to the literary world, however, as with close proximity to Oxford University, there have been many titans of literature pass through its doors.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum, Mansfield MO, USA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum, Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder is most famous for the itinerant lifestyle her family led when she was a child, crossing the woods and prairies of America’s Midwest (and, of course, for her accounts of this time, immortalised in the Little House on the Prairie series of children’s books). As such, there are numerous museums dedicated to her travels scattered across the states where her family spent time. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum, in Mansfield, MO, is significant, however, in that it was not part of the Ingalls family journey, but the place where Laura and her husband, Almanzo, bought land, built a home, and lived out their adult lives.

Charles Dickens Museum, London, UK

Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London

The Charles Dickens Museum is a Georgian terrace house in the heart of Camden, rescued from demolition in 1923 by a group of Dickens fans who, in 1902, had formed the Dickens Fellowship. Two years later, it was opened as a museum dedicated to the author’s life and works and, but for a brief closure for some significant restoration work in 2012, has remained that way ever since.