Oxfordshire has been named the best county for aspiring novelists, according to one of the UK’s leading transcription companies.

Counties were ranked by McGowan Transcriptions based on their number of bookshops and the number of prolific writers. 

The results coincide with World Book Day 2023 which celebrates authors, books and illustrators, and aims to provide every child, regardless of background, with a book of their own. 

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Oxfordshire has 37 bookshops and has been home to 11 prolific novelists.


These include Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and JRR Tolkien, who were all inspired by the county’s landscapes, picturesque towns, and vibrant culture. 

Some of the bookshops highlighted were The Book House in Thame, The Madhatter Bookshop in Burford and the Wallingford Bookshop.

A spokesman for McGowan Transcriptions said: “Accessible bookshops and influential writers are crucial to becoming a successful novelist.

“Unsurprisingly, we crowned beautiful Oxfordshire as the best place to be a novelist. 

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“If you’re an aspiring novelist, try to write a little bit, every single day.

“It doesn’t have to be good, but practice really does make perfect.

“Find yourself a mentor and read constantly.

“Try to explore all genres - variety is crucial if you want to perfect your art.

£Experience the world, and carry a notebook with you wherever possible.”

Overall, Oxfordshire has 5.3 bookshops per 100,000 people.

The results are unsurprising given Oxford’s traditional association with literature and academia.

Cumbria, Surrey and the Isle of Wight also scored highly in the ranking.