With its regal old buildings, gingerbread houses and small-town charm nestled among red clay hills, Oxford is the perfect, pretty little place for an author to tuck into, put her feet up and get down to writing the best novel there ever was.
At least that’s what some well known authors like William Faulkner, John Grisham, Ace Atkins and Barry Hannah have done. In fact, one of the top attractions in the town is William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak home, which has opened its doors to curious cats wanting to see how one of America’s great writers lived.
Given it’s literary roots and present-day author haven status, it is no surprise that Oxford is also home to one of the most well-respected bookstores in the country. Square books provides the perfect environment for both scribes and readers with its combination coffee shop and book store. And of course we all know that the scent of coffee brewing mixed with the scent of fresh, crisp book pages just waiting to be caressed is an intoxicating mix that will have your inner author swooning.
The University of Mississippi also sits in this town and you can see young academics mixed in with locals during dinner time on culinary row. A happening live music scene also helps to round out the kinda place an author might want to go wandering about.
This tiny little island off the Florida coasts is where some of the most incredible books and screenplays in America’s literary history were written.
Both Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway lived on Key West in the early part of the 20th century. Key West is balance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and is less than 80 miles from Cuba.
Both Hemingway and Williams had permanent residences on this tropical island. It is believed Hemingway worked on some of his greatest novels while living on Key West like For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
The author’s former home is now open for tours so you can breathe the very space he did for some inspiration of your own. In fact, you can even meet his extended family. The descendents of his famous polydactyl pet cat Snowball, roam the grounds of the house today.
Williams home is not open for tours but there is a Tennessee Williams Theatre where you can check out the latest offerings of the local performing arts community.
With two such notable writers finding home and success on the island you can be sure, the islands creative roots are strong. Today the literary community as well as the music and performing arts community thrives with numerous venues and festivals that allow the arts to flourish on this magical dot surrounded by blue.
Asheville, North Carolina
It’s been called many a names including “Hippie Capital of the South” as well as one of the happiest towns on earth. Ashville, North Carolina has all the makings of the kind of town that a writer could get used to.
Mountains and water is potent for the creative and Ashville has both with its location in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Swannanoa River. Famous authors who have resided in Ashville including Sarah Addison Allen, Charles Frazier and Thomas Wolfe as well as F.Scott Fitzgerald who spent two summers in the town.
The town is a piece of art on its own and feels more like it should be somewhere in Northern Europe with its Art Deco buildings, rather than in the Grand Old US South.
It isn’t only writers that have been drawn to Ashville, this place draws in all sorts of creatives and you can see that in the streets, the venues and through all of the art and soul events held throughout the year. There is an orchestra, an opera, folk festivals, street performers, rock bands, a stage company.