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A Guide to Literary Nottingham


Nottingham is rich in culture, creativity, and history. You might know of its links to the infamous Robin Hood but do you also know which literary figures have lived and breathed in this very city?  Recently named a UNESCO City of Literature (one of only 3 UK cities!), its literary scene is one that definitely needs celebrating.

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Books Set in Nottingham

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‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ by Alan Sillitoe

Saturday night is a night for hard-working, hard-drinking Arthur Seaton to prowl the streets of life. Rebellious and natural shirker of authority, Arthur is pretty certain he can live life the way he wants without facing the consequences. Sunday morning, however, is a time to face the world for what it is.

‘The Next Together’ by Lauren James

Katherine and Matthew are destined to find each other and fall in love, century after century. Whether that be in the middle of the Crimean War or the science labs of the University of Nottingham, they will always find each other, only to be cruelly torn apart. But why do they keep coming back? What force is drawing them together, again and again throughout history? For what purpose?

‘The Rainbow’ by D. H. Lawrence

The story of three generations of the Nottinghamshire Brangwen family, told from the 1840s right up to the early decades of the 20th century. The family dynamics change with the constant ebb of society transforming from day to day, and the complex relationships between men and women evolving.

Authors That Lived in Nottingham

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D.H. Lawrence was born and lived in Eastwood, Nottingham until moving to London in 1908. Lawrence is the author of classics such as ‘The Rainbow’, ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and ‘Women In Love’.

Lord Byron was an English poet and prime figure in the Romantic literary movement, who lived in Southwell, Nottingham. He wrote celebrated poems like ‘She Walks in Beauty’ and ‘Don Juan’.

J.M. Barrie lived near Mansfield Road in Nottingham for 18 months of his life whilst working for the ‘Nottingham Journal’, and is most famously known for his novel ‘Peter Pan’.

Amazing Nottingham Bookshops

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Waterstone’s Nottingham

As all the best cities do, Nottingham has an amazing Waterstone’s branch. Set over five floors with a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, classics, and random bookish delights, it’s a book-lovers haven. There are regular events going on with some top authors and it even has a Costa, if you want to drink whilst you read!

Five Leaves

Five Leaves is an independent bookstore in the heart of Nottingham city centre. Tucked away down an alley off Old Market Square they have a good selection of works  from independent publishers as well as all the latest and greatest reads!

Oxfam Books and Music

Fancy a cheaper read and want to feel good whilst doing it? The Oxfam Books and Music store usually has a wide range of secondhand books instore for you to browse through. You can’t always be guaranteed to pick up the newest releases but there’s certainly some literary gems tucked away in stores like these.

Great Places to Read in Nottingham

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Bromley House Library

An independent, subscription-based library, Bromley House offers a sprawling array of books in a beautiful Georgian townhouse. Whether you want to read in one of the reading rooms in the library our outside in the tranquil walled garden, there’s a place for everything.

The Arboretum

The Arboretum is a bright and blooming park area in the city centre, situated behind Nottingham Trent University’s city campus. With a lake, bandstand, and beautiful gardens to walk through it’s a great reading spot for a sunny day!

Wired Café Bar

Prefer to read with a cup of something warm? Wired is an independent coffee shop with a delicious selection of food and drink. During term time they also host Poetry nights, lead by lecturers from the Nottingham Trent University creative writing programme.

Fun Literary Facts

  • J.M. Barrie, author of ‘Peter Pan’, found inspiration for the story whilst living in Nottingham. The Arborteum park is said to have inspired his Neverland setting, so if that doesn’t make you want to go and pay the park a visit, we don’t know what will!
  • Lord Byron’s final resting place is at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham. Just a short tram ride from the city centre!
  • Literary alumni from the University of Nottingham include D.H. Lawrence and YA author Lauren James!

If you’ve been, what bookish bits are your favourite about Nottingham? If not, what do you love about your city? Let us know @maximumpopbooks!

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