A most pleasant country: an extract from The Country of Larks

Join Gail Simmons as she follows in the footsteps of Stevenson, exploring the lanes that lead to the chalky uplands of the Chilterns.

Layers of history: an extract from The Country of Larks

Gail Simmons describes her journey through Holmer Green, a sleepy little village that still reflects traces of its agricultural history.

Setting out: an extract from The Country of Larks

Gail Simmons recalls her journey following in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, almost 150 years after he first alighted from the train at High Wycombe station.

In search of Africa: an extract from ‘The Big Cat Man’

The moment Jonathan Scott became ‘the bloke the cheetah crapped on’

One man and a book

If any single book has immortalised the Thames in literature, it’s Three Men in a Boat (1889). 

A master storyteller

Author Rosie Whitehouse tells the story of Italo Calvino, one of Italy’s greatest novelists.

A bitter paradise

Mary Shelley’s summer on the Golfo dei Poeti was not as idyllic as you might think.

Lewis Carroll & Alice in Wonderland

There are many places and features around Oxford that crop up in Lewis Carroll’s books.

Jane Austen in Bath

Jane Austen lived and wrote in Bath for a number of years.

The leopard’s tale: an extract from ‘The Big Cat Man’

In this extract from his newly published autobiography, Jonathan Scott illustrates his quest to photograph the Mara Buffalo Female.

Simon Evans – the Postman Poet (1895–1940)

The name Simon Evans isn’t a household one, but the author, poet and broadcaster would have been well known in his day.

The Cottage Countess of Great Bolas

The tiny viallge of Great Bolas is unremarkable – apart from one story.