In June 2013 my three year English Literature degree at the University of Warwick came to and end, and the book-world became my oyster! Having always been an avid reader and amateur writer, I needed a way to get stuck in and read something different, so I devised the Placing Myself challenge. One year, one book from every English county: what will I discover?
Based in Claygate, Surrey, and transitioning into the real world from university, I am in the middle of an identity crisis, just as I believe England is. What does it mean to be English? Who decides? Is Englishness defined in the same way across the country, from Cornwall to Norfolk and Cumbria to the Isle of Wight? Is there anything genuine lurking beneath the cultural stereotypes to link this population together?
I am neither anglophile nor xenophobic, stubborn English patriot nor heathen cynic; I am not intentionally excluding any territories from this survey because they are uninteresting to me. My aim is to generate ideas, understand opinions and contribute to an ongoing discussion on the subject of how England represents itself in the modern world, in which Britishness is falling apart. At times, in regards to the novels I read, I may be confused, wrong and out of my depth, but at no point do I mean to offend.
As well as commenting on any page of this blog, you can email me directly using the form below to get in touch, suggest books for my list or simply cheer me on in my challenge!