The Word Travels explores all aspects of literary travel and literary tourism and is created with a passion for books - and for life.
With our specialist expertise we create journeys that are rich with incident and meaning
In short, journeys that fire the imagination and live on in the memory.
Join us on one of our tours, use the information and links on our site to create your own literary journey, or contact us to organise a bespoke tour for your group.
Our aim in literary travel is to foster a spirit of personal and literary exploration and to include, wherever possible, the opportunity of real involvement in landscape, writing and history.
Thus, for example, our Gods, Heroes and Romantics expedition proposes swimming across the Hellespont, as opposed to just looking at it, or flying over it.
Our tours are also about enjoying the relaxed companionship of travelling with a small group of like-minded individuals; literary travel companions with whom to share knowledge and experiences, but also having the space, when preferred, for quiet contemplation.
'We owe it to ourselves to treat our travel ambitions with dignity — our journeys should be the midwives of new and better selves.' Alain de Botton.
The Word Travels is based in Dorset, in the UK, and was founded by Westrow Cooper and David Caddy.
Westrow Cooper is a freelance writer and designer. He studied English Literature and (later) Modern Social and Cultural Studies at the Universities of Warwick and London.
His design work includes many books for the Centre for Albanian Studies (including 'Edward Lear in Albania' and, most recently, the 'Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History' by Robert Elsie). Last year he and his family visited Albania for the first time.
Amongst other literary adventures he has read The Heights of Macchu Picchu at… Macchu Picchu, climbing up from the Urubamba valley through the early mists of dawn to an unforgettable sunrise over the ruins.
From air to air, like an empty net
I went between the streets and atmosphere
arriving and departing...
David Caddy is a writer, critic, literary sociologist and historian, with degrees in Historical Studies and English Literature from Portsmouth and Essex Universities. He has organised literary events, festivals, writing weekends and tours since 1982. He founded the East Street Poets in 1985, which he ran until 2001, and directed the Wessex Poetry Festival from 1995 until 2001.
He founded the international literary magazine, Tears in the Fence, which he has edited since 1985, and is a regular contributor to The Use of English magazine. In addition he has published essays, articles and reviews on a wide variety of literary topics. His volumes of poetry include Desire (Stride) and The Willy Poems (Clamp Down Press USA).
We read to know and feel what matters in the world, and through the texture of language become more ourselves – and closer to our fellow humans. We are continually being enlivened by literature, often returning to the great writers and books, reading them anew and remembering how we used to be and looking forward to new enrichment.
When I walked the paths and trails that Thomas Hardy and his fictional characters walked, I not only felt closer to Hardy and his work, I also felt closer to those life-changing reading experiences. I moved on enlightened by the double experience. It was as if I knew more by having been there and seen things that mattered then and now.
As Thomas A Clark wrote in his poem, In Praise Of Walking:
There are things we will never see, unless we walk to them.
When I visited the childhood home of writer, poet and broadcaster, John Arlott, at Basingstoke, I was astounded to find a tall and pin-thin Gothic building near a cemetery.
The cramped living room was seemingly impossible for a family to use. It seemed to be devoid of light. Within and without exuded a distinct aura. There was both joy and sadness.
It was a beguiling place that began to make sense in relation to Arlott’s determination to become a writer, his involvement in the literary world, of the BBC and pubs of Soho, and resonated again with the personal tragedies of his later life. The ‘Voice of English Summer’ indeed had always been surrounded by darkness. In sum, this peculiar house made sense in relation to the life of the poet, cricket commentator and wine connoisseur and I felt that I knew more, much more, about Arlott from having been there.
Historic buildings, urban and rural sites and landscapes carry with them the traces and marks of past lives and the forces that made them. They live on in passive or transformed states. The London that Dickens and the Dorset that Hardy knew lives on, transformed, but with visible signs and distinct echoes that resonate.
Fleet Street, in London, for example, with its tall cramped buildings, that used to be inns, coffee houses and publishing houses, and narrow lanes, still has rooms and buildings that echo with their literary past. It is by visiting the Old Cheshire Cheese or Cock Tavern that we are able to reach back to the London of Dr. Johnson, Sheridan, Thackeray, Dickens, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and T.S. Eliot.
Tel: 07736 120951
(from outside UK: +44 7736 120951 – but please remember time zones!)
The Studio, Garden Cottage
The Down House, Blandford
Dorset, DT11 9AD
Upcoming events in May / June include:
For more details see the Festivals page.