Common Ground

Writers define places, places inspire writers. What would Dorset be without Thomas Hardy? Imagine the Scottish Highlands without Robert Louis Stevenson. And what was the effect of Hackney on Pinter, Kent on Dickens, or Laugharne on Dylan Thomas?


“Fascinating.” The Guardian

“Good fun.” The Times

“The best thing I have read on Pinter’s distinctive voice.” The Telegraph

“Brilliant essays by Niall Griffiths and Ali Smith.” The Telegraph

Which writer captures the spirit of your area? How have the local landscape, people and stories influenced them? And what effect has this had on you?

We asked 30 of Britain’s liveliest writers to consider those questions and write about the common ground they share with another writer. This book brings together their extraordinary responses, and provides a unique, informative and thoroughly entertaining tour of literary Britain.

Contributors include Ali Smith (winner of the Whitbread Novel Award 2005) and acclaimed novelist Niall Griffiths.

Featuring pieces on… Paul Abbott Burnley. Rev. W Awdry Wiltshire. Julian Barnes Middlesex. Hilaire Belloc Sussex. John Burnside Fife. Mary Butts Dorset. Charles Dickens Kent. TS Eliot City of London. Jasper Fforde Swindon. Alan Garner Cheshire. Patrick Hamilton Earl’s Court. Thomas Hardy Dorset. David Lodge Birmingham. FW Lister Middlesbrough. Richard Long at large. George Mackay Brown Orkney. Hugh Miller Cromarty. John Milton Buckinghamshire. Stuart Murdoch Glasgow. Harold Pinter Hackney. Will Self M40. William Shakespeare Stratford. Giles Smith Colchester. Robert Louis Stevenson Scottish Highlands. Dylan Thomas Laugharne. Edward Thomas Cotswolds. Major H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman Cornwall. Van Morrison Belfast. Keith Waterhouse Yorkshire. Virginia Woolf Sussex.

‘Common Ground – Around Britain In Thirty Writers’ was edited by John Simmons, Tim Rich and Robert Williams.

‘You can buy ‘Common Ground: Around Britain in Thirty Writers’ (Cyan Books) on Amazon.

Visit the website.



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Image by Tony Linkson
Found on the island of Giglio, Italy by Chris Bird.
26 Screenshot by Lara Muth
I live at number 26, and this is my bin!  Rebecca Thomas
Captured in Venice by Elen Lewis
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Spotted by Marin Lee at the Serpentine in Hyde Park
Spotted in Copenhagen by Helen MacKinven.
Spotted on the airfield of Tivat airport in Montenegro by Martin Lee
I took this picture in a fabulous vegan and raw food restaurant in Turin - Ezri Carlebach
Spotted in Capri by Laura Hunter
Woods near Jouqueviel, Midi-Pyrenees, 10 minutes after I had told my walking group about 26. They gave me a funny look. By David Mathews
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Spotted in Belfast by Jonathan Holt
From Christmas travels in Krakow by Lydia Thornley
Night time lamp from Christmas travels in Krakow by  Lydia Thornley
Daytime lamp from Christmas travels in Krakow by  Lydia Thornley
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