Spotlight on The BookTrail: A Literary Travel Agency

The BookTrail is a literary travel agency, which offers readers and travellers alike the chance to travel via fiction and see a location through the eyes of an author and their characters. Here, Susan from The BookTrail tells us some more about it…

Following an amazing year in which it was featured on the ITV News, The BookTrail has recently been Highly Commended at the UK Blog Awards’ glittering ceremony in London’s Park Plaza Hotel. I am still in shock and humbled by the response I’ve had. What started as a small blog has grown into a fully-fledged, award-winning website!

When setting up the site, I felt inspired by the character Passepartout from Around The World in 80 Days. It’s especially fitting that it was my dad who first read that book to me. He died when I was aged 5 and I needed speech therapy afterwards, which was when books and language really started to fascinate as well as help me. (My dad was a Geordie and I like to hope he would have thought the project was ‘canny’!)

I set up The BookTrail to offer readers the chance to travel – either for real or via a book. For every book on the site, there is an interactive map so you can pinpoint where your favourite characters live, like to hang out; where a fictional crime is located, and even where they like to shop!

You can choose a book by title, destination, author, or even setting. If you love books set in castles, or fancy a holiday read set on a gorgeous beach somewhere, there are destinations across the world that will suit you.

The site has been a fun way for me to rediscover my own region after many years living abroad. I always love to feature local authors and books on the site – Ann Cleeves, Mari Hannah, LJ Ross and Howard Linskey, to name but a few. All these authors feature local landmarks in their books and get you to look at places you think you know in a whole new light.

The support for the site in my native North East has been amazing. New Writing North champions writers and readers and have held so many fascinating events I’ve been to, so they’ve played a real part in getting The BookTrail where it is today. It’s great to be putting the North East on the map in this way and to showcase its literary links. Separate from NWN, I have been asked to speak as part of a panel at Newcastle Noir – the region’s very own crime writing festival. Having recently returned to the region, this feels like being welcomed back with a red carpet!

Living in Sweden for a few years and being able to read so much Scandi/Nordic Noir has been a particular highlight so far. I’ve met Jo Nesbo and spent time in Fjällbacka because of Camilla Lackberg’s crime novels. I even got to meet my literary and travel hero Michael Palin recently – Passepartout personified!

The icing on the cake however has been the accolade I received at the UK Blog Awards. There were some amazing blogs in the finals and I feel honoured to have been named and singled out in this way.

If you want your book or a book you know of singled out, readers and authors can submit trails to the site, and photos of locations to be featured. There is a wide range of novels featured at the moment, from crime, to romance, to historical. With the summer holidays just around the corner, why not rediscover the North East via books set in and around the region?

Follow in the literary footsteps of your favourite characters and travel as far as your imagination will take you…

The Booktrail is a Literary Travel Agency, where you can ‘book’ your next literary adventure and read your way around the world. Find maps, travel guides, reviews photo galleries and much more to help inspire and enrich your next journey.

For more information, visit

Twitter: @thebooktrailer