It’s a big, bright, beautiful world out there. If you’re a young writer with literary or academic ambitions, it’s a world utterly packed with inspiration. From rolling landscapes, perfect for escaping into the realms of your imagination, to bustling, vibrant cities, in which people from every walk of life hustle their way through their days. The settings, characters, storylines, or subjects of your next big writing project are just waiting to be discovered. That’s why I’ve put together this list of cities every writer should see no matter what they’re writing.
I believe that inspiration can be found anywhere, and many great works of literature and academia have been prompted by what writers have found on their doorstep. However, when you’re young, you have something of an obligation to get out there and soak up as much of this varied planet as possible. For young writers, this is doubly true, and when you’re making your travel plans, it’s never a bad idea to seek out places which might act as your muse someday. Remember that impressions and experience had played a huge role in career establishment of in-demand and popular essay writers.
I’ve put together six cities across the world which are sure to get your creative juices flowing. So what are you waiting for? Pack your notepad, your best pen, and get out there!
Globetrotting Cities Every Writer Should See
Literary magic and history flow through the streets of the Argentine capital like water. This is the city which gave birth to the kaleidoscopic worlds of Borges and his contemporaries, and it’s not difficult to see why: the unique blend of the old and the new swing in a fascinating harmony, the evenings sing with strange music, and interesting characters seem to use the wide boulevards as their own personal stages.
This city is the perfect encapsulation of the old world of Europe, reimagined in the new world of the Americas. It can be felt everywhere: in the architecture, in the food, the music, and the wine… and it’s the ideal place to sit on a park bench, watch this amazing metropolis in action, and dream up your next best-selling novel!
Struggling with writer’s block? Finding your academic papers difficult to focus on, or that you’re stuck on a particularly complex plot point? The solution is simple – hop on a plane, and head to the world’s most northerly capital city. Iceland’s Reykjavik is a truly unique city: it spends half the year in semi-darkness, the other half bathed in beautiful nordic sunshine, and even in the city center, you’re never far from some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.
This is a city in which you can truly feel a million miles from anywhere, and a day trip out into the wilds of Iceland is sure to clear your head, and allow you to focus on those trickier bits of writing! What’s more, Reykjavik has an awesome literary and bookshop scene, as well as some of the most fascinating music on earth. And who could fail to be inspired by the majesty of the Northern Lights?
Trying to write the next great American novel, put together an epic beat poem, or complete some academic writing which will inspire the next generation of students? If so, Portland is the cool, hip, and unforgettable city which should top your list of places to go.
Portland revels in the weird, the unique, the cutting-edge and vintage all at once. It’s cafe and bookshop scene is renowned across the globe, and there are countless art galleries, live music venues, poetry slams and more besides to explore.
What list of literary centers and inspirational cities would be complete without some mention of Paris? The city of lights is the home of some of the finest literature and poetry ever written – from Zola to Baudelaire, Hugo to Verlaine – as well as many philosophical, existential and academic texts which changed the world forever.
Sure, it can be expensive, overwhelming and crowded, but wander down the Seine with a freshly baked baguette, a cheap bottle of vin rouge and your notepad, and you’ll understand exactly why writers have flocked to this uniquely beautiful city for centuries.
The Scottish capital has produced many of the world’s most famous authors and scientists, including Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, and many more besides. It’s a city which wears its literary heart on its sleeve, and to walk down its narrow, cobbled, winding streets is to step back into the past, and soak up an atmosphere which is clearly of a different time.
With the majestic castle and Arthur’s Seat looming on the horizon, Edinburgh is a truly evocative city which draws in creative types from all over the world. Furthermore, each summer, the city explodes with literature, theatre, comedy, and poetry at the iconic Fringe festival – and it’s impossible to leave Edinburgh without being inspired.
The UNESCO City of Literature is probably the foremost relevant city in the world for any writer. With must-see places like Trinity College, the Writer’s Museum and the infamous City of the Dead otherwise known as Glasnevin Cemetery where many of the world’s most famous writers are buried. See the homes of famed authors like Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift, or take a cheeky selfie with the statues of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce in St. Stephen’s Green. There’s plenty more where these come from in one of my favorite cities on the planet! Check out my huge list on things to do in Dublin here.
Being a writer and a traveler is quite possibly the most fantastic combination of passions one could combine. When you travel with a writer’s soul, adventure is sure to find you.