Book Lovers York
The saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a novel way of learning about York is through its rich literary connections. Visitors are invited to explore York – the birthplace of Daniel Defoe’s world-famous character Robinson Crusoe.
While walking the over 2000 years old medieval city walls visitors can hear the bells of the iconic York Minster, just as Grace Trewe did in ‘Times Echo’ by Pamela Hartshorne. York Minster’s library is also one of the oldest in the country, it includes the York Gospels – over a thousand years old and still used today. Stained-glass windows were also the medieval equivalent of a book, making stories from the Bible accessible for their congregations – and York Minster’ Great East Window is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country, a masterpiece in glass and stone depicting the beginning and end of all things.
From York Minster, visitors can take a stroll don Stonegate, one of York’s prettiest streets, where the first two volumes of Sterne’s landmark ‘Tristram Shandy’ were printed, and look out for the printer’s Red Devil which sits on number 33, a former printers, and serves as a lasting reminder of when Stonegate was famous as a centre of books and publishing in the 16th century.
In York visitors can follow in the footsteps of the Henry VIII royal progress to York, and see the sights that remain a reminder of the turbulent history at what is left of St Mary’s Abbey in York Museum Gardens, as depicted in C J Sansom’s historical mystery ‘Sovereign’, the third novel in his ‘Matthew Shardlake Series’.
The riverside view of the city that opens up to the eyes of all from the Skeldergate bridge was described in great detail by Wilkie Collins, a friend of Charles Dickens, in his novel ‘No Name’.
In the city that is home of Kit Kat and Chocolate Oranges visitors can immerse themselves in the stories of ‘The Sweethearts, York’s Chocolate Girls’ by Lynn Russell and Neil Hanson by joining the tasty guided tour at York’s Chocolate Story.
Famous English author Kate Atkinson was born in York and many of her characters have a connection to the city. Ruby Lennox from ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ was inspired from one of York’s most visited museums – York Castle Museum, while the fictional detective Jackson Brodie from ‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ was rather fond of Betty’s Tea Rooms, where visitors can still enjoy a traditional English afternoon tea with a side of a delicious fat rascal.
For many years York has inspired and attracted many authors, including Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Bronte sisters, and it continues to do so even now. Matt Haig – a bestselling author of ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ and recently released ‘Midnight Library’ currently resides in York.