A rather topical issue at the moment is the pulling down of statues of controversial historical figures. When I travel around the world, I love seeing statues of famous writers, seeing which ones have been honoured by a statue. If you stroll in New York’s Central Park you’ll find Shakespeare, Hans Christian Andersen, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, as well as a statue of Alice in Wonderland (pictured above) and a fountain dedicated to Frances Hodgson Burnett.
In Wellington, NZ, there is a fabulous statue of Katherine Mansfield, and of course Basingstoke in England now has the world’s first statue of Jane Austen. Oxford, Mississippi has a wonderful statue of William Faulkner – you can sit next to him and pretend to have a chat. In Belfast there’s a square filled with the characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so you can stroll around admiring the White Witch, Mr and Mrs Beaver, Aslan and Mr Tumnus, amongst others. I was enchanted by them all and loved the way that literary characters had invaded a public space.
Of course, councils (or the necessary authorities) have to decide whether it is best to create a statue of an author or of a character. In Oxford, England, a decision has recently been taken to design and erect a statue of Colin Dexter, rather than one of his Inspector Morse. The Inspector Morse Society has been planning this statue since Dexter died earlier this year. They hope it will be in bronze or marble, and will have a crossword at its base. Colin Dexter set his 13 novels in Oxford, and Morse tours of the city are a popular tourist attraction, so to me it seems a fabulous way to honour him.
I’d love to see more statues of authors put up around the world. Is there a writer you would like to see honoured in this way? Do you have a favourite statue of an author? Tell me by leaving a comment.
Susannah Fullerton: Of Claire Tomalin and Katherine Mansfield
Susannah Fullerton: Poem of the Month: January 2017, Robert Burns
Susannah Fullerton: I Do Love a Nice Garden
Susannah Fullerton: Literary Statues