Literary Southern England: Land and Writers

The land is the mother of culture, because our places are the reason we see and hear and feel as we do. Join us as we wander around ten of the southern counties of England, exploring them through the eyes of twenty great and popular English writers (and possibly more!) from Chaucer to Le Carre and from Dahl to Dickens. In each region we will look at the environment, history and folk traditions that prompted these stories and the writers who lived there, seeking their inspirations and opening ourselves to their writing.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The History of Mr Polly, H. G. Wells
  • Of Human Bondage, somerset Maugham
  • The Clergyman’s Daughter, George Orwell *_ Gaudy Night_, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Anything by:
    • Christopher Marlowe
    • H. G. Wells
    • Somerset Maugham
    • George Orwell
    • Joseph Conrad
    • Noel Coward
    • Vera Brittain
    • Dorothy L. Sayers
    • Anthony Trollope
    • Graham Greene
    • Roald Dahl
    • Daphne du Maurier
    • John Le Carre
    • Thomas Hardy
    • John Galsworthy
    • Rudyard Kipling
    • Charles Dickens
    • A. A. Milne


  • Kent: Geoffrey Chaucer, Christopher Marlowe, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham
  • Suffolk: George Orwell, Enid Blyton
  • Oxfordshire: Vera Brittain, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Hertfordshire: Anthony Trollope, Graham Greene
  • Buckinghamshire: Roald Dahl
  • Cornwall: Daphne du Maurier, John Le Carre
  • Dorset: Thomas Hardy
  • West Sussex: john Galsworthy
  • East Sussex: Rudyard Kipling, A. A. Milne
  • Greater London: Charles Dickens


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the life story of each of these writers, their cultural contexts and influences, characters, creative works, other contributions and their impact.
  2. Assess their books according to literary quality, significance and influence, how they represented their environment, themes they explored, and their meanings at the time and today.
  3. Discuss the cultural values expressed in the books, similarities and differences between the writers and the responses to the authors’ personal characters and decisions.
  4. Remember with pleasure what these books meant to them, growing up.
  5. Want to read (or re read) those books.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .