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19 April 2014
Kent in SE England 

Even though I was not born and brought up here, I have now lived in the English County of Kent (South East England) for the past 11 years. It's a beautiful county, and still close enough to London (in fact, I work in London), so it has quickly become 'my home county'. 

Here are few famous literary connections in 'my county Kent'.

The 'Classics' 

Charles Dickens

Dickens moved with his family to Chatham in Kent when he was 5 years old, in 1817. It is said that he loved Broadstairs, on the Kent Coast. The North Kent Marshes inspired his work Great Expectations and the spooky opening scene where Pip meets escaped convict is based there. He also wrote David Copperfield and Bleak House whilst living in Broadstairs. Today, there is Dickens World Theme Park in Chatham (which I haven't visited yet I have to admit, despite it only being about 30 mins on the car from here, but sometimes I don't like the commercial aspect of it)

Geoffrey Chaucer

Going further back in time to the 15th century, Chaucer has a Kent town in the title of his most famous work: The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer wrote stories about pilgrims going to Canterbury Cathedral (which still stands today). He is thought to be the 'father of English Literature' and the greatest poet in the Middle Ages. There is a Canterbury Tales Museum in Canterbury. 

Charles Darwin

A non-fiction author and one of the most influential scientists ever, Darwin lived in Down House, Downe, Kent for 40 years and he also died there in 1882. It was here that he wrote his most famous work The Origin of Species'. Down House has been kept in its original condition and can still be visited today. 

Jane Austen

OK, not a very strong connection, I admit, but I couldn't resist this one! Jane Austen apparently often came to Kent to visit her brother James and is said to have stayed in Dartford (my hometown!) at the Royal Victoria & Bull Public and Guest House which is still in Dartford today. 

Roald Dahl

The author lived with his family in Bexley, Kent as a young boy, and whilst at school in Repton, he got the idea for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as Cadbury (the chocolate company) used to supply young Roald's school with free sample chocolates for 'testing' (can you imagine this happening now!!). 

H.G Wells

The 'father of science fiction writing' born in Bromley, Kent. Most famous for his science fiction books such as War of the Worlds, The First Man on The Moon and the Time Machine, he also wrote social and political commentaries. He even played professional cricket for the Kent County Team.

Hope you enjoyed my little trip into literary history