A Literary Guide to Southampton by Stephanie Derham

image1 (1)Stephanie Derham guides you through the city of Southhampton:

The city of Southampton is unknown to many people outside of England. It’s a port in the south, and is mostly known for its Titanic museum. It’s also not the prettiest place, but it does have some amazing reading spots if you know where to look.

Since our weather is typically rainy and cold, there are plenty of indoor places to get lost in, in addition to the outdoor ones. There are coffee shops, bookshops, secluded benches, parks… our main city library even has an art museum above it! So, let’s explore the literary side of the supposedly bleak city of Southampton.


Books Set in Southampton

Southampton Books

‘Maurice’ by E.M. Forster

Set in Edwardian England, this book is a perfect blend of history and LGBTQIA+ fiction, in which Forster has created a character so completely the opposite to himself, and has pulled it off extremely well.

‘The Widow’ by Fiona Barton

A New York Times Bestseller and a captivating thriller that will take you into the dark spaces between a husband and wife.

 ‘A Night To Remember’ by Walter Lord

 A minute-by-minute account of the sinking of the Titanic. First published in 1955, it remains a true story about the behaviours of those on the ship at the time of its collision.

Authors That Live in Southampton


AJ. Waines – Author of ‘Girl On A Train’, ‘The Evil Beneath’, and ‘No Longer Safe’.

Best Bookshops in Southampton

Southampton bookshops


A major bookselling company with a wide range of stores, a great layout to make it easy to find books, and helpful, enthusiastic staff. 

October Books

Located in Portswood, this is an independent store where you can find books for cheaper than the price of a normal bookstore, at great quality. It has some major series, and some lesser known titles too.

 Blackwell’s Academic Bookshop

This store caters to those who are buying books for school, children who want to learn to read,teachers, non-native English speakers, people new to the country, and non-fiction lovers – it has it all!

Great Places to Read in Southampton

Southampton places to read

Weston Shore

A beach, but not a beach. With stones instead of sand, and a fresh sea breeze with a view of the main port, it’s the perfect place to sit and read (And it usually has an ice-cream van when the weather’s warm).

The Art Museum

It’s quiet, but has some background noise. It’s pretty. It’s above a library. What more could you want?

 Round About Café

Homemade cakes, fresh, local produce, free children’s toys to borrow while you sit, a basket of reading glasses in case you forget yours, free use of laptops and speedy free wifi…the list goes on. They’re also very affordable, since they’re not-for-profit. It’s a reader’s heaven!

Do you have a favourite reading spot in Southampton? Let us know at @maximumpopbooks!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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