We all know that the founding father of science fiction, HG Wells, made Woking famous in the late 19th century after choosing Horsell Common as the location for his Martian landing in The War of the Worlds - but did you know George Bernard Shaw, John Donne, Hilary Mantel, Alfred Bestall and Kazuo Ishiguro also have strong links to Woking?
While Woking was also home to the original ‘Queen of Cuisine’ and the world’s first celebrity chef Delia Smith, it’s also the bedrock for a new generation of new generation of successful authors and novelists too, including Robin Whitcomb, Abigail Cole and Aimee Ryan.
But you don’t have to read them all today! For the day that’s in it, we’ve picked just a few to get you thinking…
Wolf Hall- Hilary Mantel
Knaphill-based literary genius Hilary Mantel picked up the Man Booker Prize in 2013 for her historical novel, Wolf Hall.
Set during the Tudor era, Wolf Hall follows the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell, royal advisor to Henry VIII in striking attention to detail and at over 600 pages, you’ll really get lost in this gripping tale of historical intrigue.
And it doesn’t end there- Hilary Mantel has also published a sequel, Bring Up The Bodies, with the final novel in the trilogy The Mirror and The Light published in 2020.
The Time Machine - HG Wells
It’s a well-known fact that HG Wells used Woking as the location inspiration for his flagship novel War of The Worlds, but he has an impressive bibliography beyond this popular novel.
The Time Machine, published in 1895, was the work that first propelled H.G. Wells into the spotlight. This science fiction classic is often credited with popularising the concept of time travel, featuring the first known use of the phrase ‘time machine’.
Set in the Victorian era, the novel follows the tale of a scientist who claims that he has invented a machine that allows him to travel through time. He travels forward to the year 802,701 where he faces adventures and challenges alike. This is one for the sci-fi lovers!
Secret Woking - Marion Field
If fiction isn’t your thing and you love to uncover new facts and stories, then Hidden Woking is a one-stop shop to find out more about our town’s hidden heritage.
Take a trip down memory lane and uncover what has made Woking the town it is today. From Nazi espionage to royal visitors, there’s more to Woking than you think!
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Ishiguro grew up in Surrey and was educated at Woking County Grammar School.
A widely-celebrated author, Kazuo Ishiguro’s works of contemporary fiction have received global acclaim. Never Let Me Go is one of Ishiguro’s most widely-read works. A romantic coming-of-age tragedy set in a dystopian reality, this novel is gripping from the get-go.
And if you need a break from all this reading, Never Let Me Go was made into a movie in 2010 starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.
Delia’s Complete How To Cook- Delia Smith
Celebrated cook, TV presenter and bestselling author Delia Smith was born in Woking. Having inspired generations of home cooks, there’s no better way to refresh your cooking skills by immersing yourself in her award-winning How To Cook series.
With all the tips and tricks from the How To Cook series combined into one handy guide, Delia’s Complete How To Cook will give your kitchen habits a new lease of life!
There’s plenty here to help you celebrate world book day, no matter what your favourite genre is!
Share your favourite books with us by tagging #WeAreWoking.