With several major anniversaries being celebrated this year – including the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and 20 years since publication of the first Harry Potter book – 2017 is set to be a bumper year for literary lovers. In recognition of this important milestone, VisitEngland has declared it the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’.
Shakespeare’s England has a rich literary heritage, which can be enjoyed at numerous properties across the region as well as during different events throughout the year.
Without doubt the area’s most renowned literary hero is William Shakespeare –the world’s greatest playwright. Following the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016, there are now even more opportunities than ever to get up close and personal with the Bard. Visit the many Shakespeare-related properties, including his Birthplace and Schoolroom. See one of his works brought to life by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Or pay your respects at his grave at Holy Trinity Church. The popular Birthday Parade forms the centrepiece of the annual celebrations. And there’s even a special Shakespeare Week for primary schools.
Meanwhile, a few miles away at Stoneleigh Abbey, there are links to Jane Austen – one of England’s most acclaimed authors. During a guided tour of this former Cistercian monastic house you can learn about the connection between the Leighs of Stoneleigh Abbey and Austen. Discover what brought her to the property in 1806, learn how the house and its portraits may have influenced her writings, and experience her visit through a letter by her mother.
Of course, there are many modern literary heroes too. One of the best opportunities to meet them is at the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival – a magnet for thousands of people who share a passion for books, writing and reading. This year sees the Lit Fest celebrate its 10th anniversary with a mix of talks, masterclasses, workshops and children’s events over eight packed days in April.
Remember, you can always keep up to date with what’s happening in Shakespeare’s England via our Events page or by following us on Instagram (shakespeares_england).
You can also keep up with the literary connections on Twitter and Instagram with #BookEngland