Wandering around the English countryside in early autumn while talking about literature: sounds idyllic, no? And so I sighed enviously as I perused the program of Creative Footsteps, a literary festival starting Saturday in the English county of Hampshire.
Jane Austen may be Hampshire’s most famous literary resident, but she wasn’t the only one. Creative Footsteps encompasses not only garden tours and arts workshops at Chawton House, the Elizabethan manor once owned by Austen’s older brother Edward, but also walking tours and discussions focused on the eighteenth-century naturalist Gilbert White, closely associated with the village of Selborne, and the World War I poet Edward Thomas, who spent a decade in the village of Steep.
The event aims "to celebrate the literary heritage of East Hampshire, and the beautiful scenery that inspired it," according to the local government's announcement of the event.
Early autumn is indeed a beautiful time in England (mists, mellow fruitfulnes, etc.), at least when it isn't raining. And it’s not hard to imagine that Jane Austen, a country girl whose heroines tend to love the outdoors, would have enjoyed many of the events included in Creative Footsteps, which runs through October 10. I’m not so sure about that yoga workshop, but you never know.