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For our second Tales & Ales giveaway competition, we asked: what place featured in a novel would you love to escape to right now? We had some terrific answers (that heightened our own wanderlust), and have published a selection here for all to enjoy.


I would love to be messing around in boats on a river bank in England with Ratty and Mole.


I’m sick of my own cooking so I’d like to be at Lucky’s Stanmore franchise [from Andrew Pippos’ Lucky’s] for a mixed grill or maybe his stifado. I’ve always loved the Greek restaurants with booths (Sophies used to be one in Balmain) and always search them out in country towns.


Strolling the Left Bank, browsing the bouquinistes for a gently loved copy of “Les Précieuses ridicules”, settling in for the afternoon with a carafe at the Cafe de la Mairie, all in preparation for that boat trip tomorrow down the Seine, the Saône, the Rhone, to the Canal du Midi, returning once more to the Haut Languedoc. All brought to mind by The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.


I really enjoyed Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – mostly set in London. I’d love to escape there right now!


Antigua, the beautiful complex Carribean island in Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place.




I have just read and listened to Still Life by Susan Winman, most of which is set in Florence. My husband and I spent a wonderful week living in Florence 10 years ago and fell in love with the city. We stayed near the Ponte Vecchio which is where a lot of the story takes place – this made me long to once again spend some time in this wonderful city. Such a wonderful place to dream about in this time of lockdown!


I’d like to be doing the literary tour that Della and Jasmine did in Larissa Behrendt’s After Story


Right now, it’d be phenomenal to be in Dirt Music country. Travelling around WA’s remarkable far, far north coast, listening to the Dirt Music tracks put together by Tim Winton and his pal Lucky Ocean. Trekking and floating through the greenest and bluest place on the planet. Wow!


I would escape to Moscow’s Griboyedov House! There I would dine in the restaurant, described in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita, as the centre of Moscow’s 1940’s literary culture. Although the restaurant was very grand, with vaulted ceilings and lilac painted horses, its prices were extremely moderate!

There’s filets de perche au natural on the menu – sheer virtuosity!!

“You know how to live Ambrose”, sighed Vanya, a thin pinched man with a carbuncle on his neck, to Ambrose, a strapping, red-lipped, golden-haired, ruddy-cheeked poet. “Just a perfectly normal desire to live a decent human existence,” countered Ambrose.

However, I would finish my dessert before the giant black cat Behemoth comes to dine and then burns the place down!