Words by Jasmine Smith
If you’re new to the city, Brighton has endless avenues of discovery. The perfect mix of modern and historical means Brighton is a great location for book lovers and literary enthusiast. There are endless literary delights nestled about town for you to discover.
Here’s a mini bookish guide to Brighton and the surrounding areas:
City Books, 23 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1AF
Books For Amnesty, 15 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN14EN
Brighton Books, 18 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL
Daves Comics, 5 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EN
Colin Page, 36 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG
The Feminist Bookshop and Vegan Cafe, 48 Upper N St, Brighton BN1 3FH Raining Books, 28 Trafalgar St, Brighton, BN1 4ED
The Kemptown Bookshop, 91 St George’s Rd, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1EE Waterstones (Brighton), 71-74 North St, Brighton BN1 1ZA
Waterstones (Hove), 90-91 George St, Hove BN3 3YE
The Works Outlet, 6 The Waterfront, Brighton Marina, Brighton BN2 5WA Oxfam Bookshop, 30 Kensington Gardens, Brighton BN1 4AL
WHSmith, Grenville Street Churchill Square 69, Brighton BN1 2TA Landmarks
Kipling Gardens, Rudyard Kipling
The Kipling Gardens in Rottingdean, East Sussex were once part of The Elms where Rudyard Kipling lived. You can visit the gardens and bask in the beauty and history of the famous literary landmark.
Brighton and Eastbourne, Brighton Rock
Graham Greene’s famous novel, Brighton Rock, gives us an insight into the seedy underworld of Brighton in 1938. Filming of the two subsequent film adaptations took place in various locations across the city. Much of the 2010 adaptation was filmed in the nearby town of Eastbourne, just a short train journey away.
Bedford Hotel (now the Holiday Inn Brighton), Charles Dickens Dickens was a lover and frequent visitor to Brighton. Whilst staying in the Bedford Hotel, now Brighton’s Holiday Inn, Dickens wrote novels Bleak House and Barnaby Rudge.
Ruins Of The West Pier, The Death of Bunny Munro
Musician, Nick Cave, is the author of two novels. His second book, The Death of Bunny Monroe, follows his middle-aged protagonist and son on a chaotic road trip across Brighton. Set in 2003, the book takes place at a similar time to the West Pier burning down.
Brighton Pavilion, Pride and Prejudice
In Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennett escapes to Brighton with her lover, George Wickham. Unfortunately, rumours say that Austen wasn’t a fan of Brighton, which was then known as a place of debauchery and immoral behaviour. Why not take a trip down to Brighton’s Pavilion and envisage what it might have been like during Austen’s regency period.
University of Sussex, Sweet Tooth
Ian Mcewan’s novel, Sweet Tooth, takes us back to Sussex in the 1970s. Set against the backdrop of the Coldwar, Mcewan’s protagonist, Serena Frome, travels to Sussex where she begins an affair with a writer and professor from the university. Mcewan’s story might be fiction, but his links to the university are very much real; he studied BA English Literature at the university, graduating in 1970, before going on to become one of the worlds most critically acclaimed authors.
Sussex Square, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
Brighton is known for its quirky and unique atmosphere, which is why this literary connection seems so apt. Lewis Caroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, frequently visited Sussex square during his summers. The secret tunnel linking Brighton beach to a luxury home in Lewes Crescent inspired the author’s rabbit hole in his iconic works of children’s literature. Unfortunately, there is no fantasy land of peculiar characters and grinning cats at the end of this tunnel.
Coronavirus has made the ease and accessibility of social events much hard. Fortunately, many have adapted their in-person events to take place online. Here are a few on and offline events happening in the coming months.
Brighton & Hove Christmas Book Fayre: November 21st, Brighton Unitarian Church Brighton Book Club Live at Selina: September 3rd, Selina Brighton Brighton Dome Live Online – Elizabeth Day: October 2nd, Virtual Event Brighton Dome Live Online- William Boyd: October 4th, Virtual Event Brighton Done Live Online- Fatima Bhutto: November 1st, Virtual Event