A Literature Lover’s Guide to Brighton

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Image © ERIC MAK via Flickr

Explore some literary landmarks in 'London-by-the-sea!'

Brighton Book Festival is a grass-roots festival organized by independent bookshops, with the aim of “making the marginalized mainstream”. In honour of the festival, which takes places from the 18th to the 23rd of May, we've decided to take you on a literary tour of 'London-by-the-sea'; have a browse through our handy guide on how to pay homage to some famous novels set in Brighton.

Get a ‘Sugar Rush’ while waltzing along the waterfront


True Noughties kids are bound to remember Sugar Rush, the coming-of-age TV series that tells the tale of Kim Daniels, a 15-year-old who realizes she’s in love with her best friend, Sugar. But did you know the series was in fact based off a book by journalist-turned-novelist Julie Burchill? Aptly set in Brighton, arguably the LGBTQ+ capital of Britain, lovers of the book and the series alike can walk around 'B-Town' picturing Kim and Sugar getting up to their teenage antics, from discovering sex shops to making out on the beach, and even infecting Kim’s mother with crabs (you’ll have to read the book or watch the series to find out about that one!)

Have a full-frontal snog-a-thon at Oh So Social Bar


Continuing with the theme of Noughties-based Young Adult literature, rekindle your love for everyone’s favorite hopeless, British teenager Georgia Nicholson. The anti-hero of her own series of books by author Louise Rennison, the first of which is titled Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, Georgia spends her days with her ‘Ace Gang’ concocting ways to get the latest hotties at her school to like her (didn‘t we all at fifteen?) Her Georgia‘s antics were adapted to the screen in 2008, and although the story is set in Eastbourne, many of the locations used for filming are actually in Brighton. 

A stand out scene is when Georgia heads to love interest Robbie‘s gig at Oh So Social Bar, on Brighton seafront, with his best friend to make him jealous. Why not head over with your own romantic interest in tow?

Oh So Social Bar is located at 250a Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 1NB

Relive a murderous thriller in the charming gardens of Brighton Pavillion


Written in 1938, Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock is a murder thriller following the plight of wannabe gangster and teenager sociopath Pinkie Brown. Set in 1940s Brighton, the novel has been turned into two films, the most recent 2010 adaptation transporting the story to the ‘Mods and Rockers’ era of the Sixties. Whilst mainly filmed in London and the nearby town of Eastbourne, the film still has some scenes shot in its eponymous city. Pinkie takes Rose (his girlfriend, later his wife) on a date to the charming gardens of the Brighton Pavilion - but he obviously has an ulterior motive…

Brighton Pavilion is located on Old Steine, BN1 1EJ

Gaze out over the West Pier ruins with a Nick Cave novel in hand


While Australian musician Nick Cave may be best known for fronting rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, he is also the author of two works of fiction. The second, The Death of Bunny Munro, follows a middle-aged protagonist on an out of control road trip to Brighton with his son, and a serial killer lurking around the city. The book is set in 2003, around the time the West Pier was famously destroyed by fire, so why not take your copy down to the beach to read as you gaze contemplatively out to the ominous ruins?