It’s World Book Day, on Thursday 7 March 2019. A day that celebrates storytelling and the pleasure that reading brings to all ages.

The beautiful English Riviera landscape has always provided the perfect inspirational backdrop for a wealth of artists, creative practitioners and literary geniuses.

Join us on our literary journey as we mark World Book Day with a nod to just a few of the most famous writers and poets from the past who have visited or lived in this very special part of South Devon.

  • Dame Agatha Christie

World Book Day with Agatha Christie

Top of our list of course, is the ‘Queen of Crime’.  Agatha was born in Torquay and spent her formative years in the area with many of her experiences, places and the people that she encountered appearing in her much-loved stories.  The most successful female playwright and crime writer of all time, her books have sold more than two billion copies and have been translated into over 100 languages.

Find out more about The English Riviera’s most famous resident by visiting our dedicated Agatha Christie page.

  • Charles Darwin

World Book Day with Charles Darwin

Scientist, naturalist, geologist and author of On the Origin of the Species. Darwin stayed on the site of 2 Meadfoot House, Hesketh Crescent in Torquay for six weeks during the summer of 1861.

Darwin’s five-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle took him to South America, the Galapagos and Pacific islands.  His observations and research of the natural world during this time lead to his revolutionary theory of evolution.

  • Charles Kingsley

Kingsley was a Church of England priest, historian and author of The Water Babies.  He stayed in Torquay at Livermead House in 1864 and considered Darwin to be a close friend.

  • Rudyard Kipling

Poet, short story teller and Literature Nobel Prize winner, Kipling is best known for his classic children’s stories, The Jungle Books, Just So Stories and Kim as well as his inspirational poem, If..    From 1896 to 1898 he lived at Rock House, Rock House Lane, Maidencombe in Torquay.

  • Oscar Wilde

World Book Day with Oscar Wilde

Playwright, poet, literary wit and creator of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Ernest stayed at Babbacombe Cliff in Torquay during the winter of 1892-93.

  • Flora Thompson

The author who created the Larkrise to Candleford series, which became a popular British television costume drama, moved to Lauriston house in New Road, Brixham in 1940 where she completed her work. She resided there until her death in 1947.

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

An eminent Victorian poet who lived on Beacon Hill in Torquay from 1838 to 1841. She is best known for her sonnet, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

  • Robert Graves

Novelist, prolific wartime poet and soldier who fought in the Battle of Loos and the Battle of the Somme, lived at Vale House in Galmpton, Brixham from 1940 to 1946.

Wherever you go on the English Riviera, you’ll find lots of plaques that recognise some of the greatest figures in British history.  To find out more visit the Torbay Civic Society website to download a Blue Plaque Trail map or visit our friends at The Shorely for an insiders’ guide on the Bay’s latest home-grown and emerging talent.


Agatha Christie Literary Trail
Greenway House, Nr Brixham, Devon

While you're in Christie Country, the Agatha Christie Literary Trail is an unmissable day out for murder mystery fans. Pick up a free leaflet and follow the Trail to discover the places that inspired the settings of some of her most popular works.



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