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Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands Exhibition

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by Josie Harris (subscribe)
Journalism student at Kingston University. Likes tea, two sugars please.
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J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, 'Not all those who wander are lost.' However, it is easy to lose yourself wandering in the land of literature for several hours at the British Library's 'Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands exhibition.

From the sea to the suburbs, the literary display looks at how some of Britain's most stunning and unsuspecting landscapes have influenced and inspired some of the country's most famous authors and their work. Beginning with the transformation of the idyllic countryside at the turn of the 19th century as a direct result of the industrial revolution, an event that influenced Isengard in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, to the boat ride on the River Thames that inspired C.S. Lewis' Alice's Adventures in Wonderland .

The 'Writing Britain' exhibition offers not just a fascinating look into the landscapes that influenced some of the country's most famous works, but also a look at how individual authors were affected by the landscapes that inspired them so much, such as the land laws that drove the poet John Clare mad.

The exhibition also features the original notebooks, drafts and illustrations of authors, which sit perfectly alongside copies of the final published texts. Perhaps the most enthralling of these is J.K. Rowling's original draft of Harry Potter. With plenty of scribbles it proves that not every first draft can be perfect.

From classic novels to comic books, 'Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands' leaves no page unturned and you can be certain there will be something in the extensive collection of texts that will capture your imagination and inspire you to read something new or leave you yearning to re-read your favourites.

Easily accessible from London St. Pancreas or Kings Cross Station, the British Library is itself the perfect setting for the exhibition. Tickets are priced at 9 per adult (with concessions available) and can be purchased online or from the British Library box office. Although booking is recommended it is not essential. This exhibition is certainly well worth a look for bookworms before its 25 September 2012 closing date.
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Why? Over 150 literary works on display
When: Fri 11 May 2012 Tue 25 Sep 2012
Where: The British Library
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