PD Smith

Lives of Houses

28 March 2020 | Guardian, photography, Reviewing, Writers in Sussex | Post a comment

I've written a piece for today's Guardian Review on our enduring fascination with the homes and haunts of our creative heroes. It's partly a review of Lives of Houses, a wonderful collection of essays edited by Kate Kennedy and Hermione Lee. But it also draws on my experience of working with my father in the 1980s on our book Writers in Sussex.

Christopher Fry, who lived at East Dean in the Sussex Downs, was kind enough to write a personal and evocative foreword to our book (which you can read here). It was clear from talking to Christopher Fry that he was delighted to discover a literary dimension to some of his favourite landscapes. In 1936 he and his wife had lived in an old mill-house at Coleman's Hatch: “We knew that not far away were the AA Milnes at Cotchford Farm. What we didn’t know was that twenty-three years earlier W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound had rented a cottage even nearer to where we were living. Every time we had driven to Forest Row we had passed the end of the lane which would have led us to Stone Cottage.”

You can see some of my photos for the book on Flickr. There's also a piece I wrote about Writers in Sussex here.

Asheham House

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