Condé Nast Traveler published recently its list of the top cities for vacationers looking for a literary experience. Berlin, Boston, and Dublin ranked as cities that offer both a rich literary history and a vibrant cultural scene.
Berlin, which has inspired writers such as Jeffrey Eugenides, Bertolt Brecht, and Alfred Döblin, hosts each fall the twelve-day International Literature Festival and the English-language reading series Poetry Hearings. Other events held throughout the year include the Zebra Poetry Film Festival sponsored by the organization Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, which also presents open mikes, readings, and other programming.
A hub for Victorian era writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Boston is home to the first public library in the United States and historic Beacon Hill, where many writers lived and worked. Henry David Thoreau's retreat at Walden Pond, open year-round to the public, is a twenty-mile jaunt from the city. Boston visitors can browse through literature old and new at the Old Corner Bookstore, once the headquarters of Walden publisher Ticknor and Fields, the Trident Booksellers Café, and the antiquarian bookseller Brattle Book Shop, which opened its doors in 1825.
Dublin's literary offerings include the annual Dublin Writers Festival each June, the Dublin Writer’s Museum, the James Joyce Center, and numerous landmarks celebrating writers throughout the city. Natives include Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw, whose restored home is open to visitors. The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, led by two professional actors performing works by notable writers, walks visitors through a storied several of the city's ubiquitous watering holes.
Suggestions for lodging and dining options in the three cities are offered on the Condé Nast Traveler Web site.