Early in December 2020, I began a new project on narrative knowing using literary travel writing as a method of inquiry to explore the southern, mainly French-speaking region of Belgium, known as Wallonia. The initial aims were to take further the research that I had completed on the French cities of Nantes and Cherbourg, and to extend my work on the seaside town of Concarneau. I also aimed to develop this research as preparation for the conference in May 2021 with Cornerstone Heritage and Maribor University on Narrative Knowing in Heritage and Travel.
From an eco-travel point of view, that part of Western Europe offers a lower-carbon holiday route for visitors outbound from the UK. The cross-channel ferries and Eurostar give UK residents a greener transport link, avoiding the need to take a car or campervan onto the continent. Please look out for my next post on Be Wallonia, in which I try to find a direct francophone portal through the Belgian border in: ‘Lille to Liège’ … Dr Charlie Mansfield, Travel Writers Online
My first data collection job then is to find novels set in Wallonia. Authors, too, and characters who lived in the cities along that railway network from Lille to Liège and even onto Spa. The books and writers that have mapped out the literary geography of this Iron Age linguistic space in Europe.