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Can you guess which city has featured the most in literature?

From ‘The Great Gatsby’ to ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’, these cities have been written about the most

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Cities make for ideal settings for a novel. All those streets, all those people, all those stories? Well, they provide more than enough inspiration.

But which cities are the most written-about? And no, we don’t mean in terms of journalism or travel books. When it comes to fiction, UK housebuilder David Wilson Homes has scoured e-book database to figure out which cities have featured the most in literature.

It’s worth noting that is very much dominated by books in the English language. While over two million books are available on the platform, very few aren’t in English – in other words, David Wilson Homes’ list is pretty Anglocentric.

Top of the ranking came New York. The US city has apparently clocked in a whopping 79,384 books written about it, which was nearly double the number of any other city. And NYC isn’t too much of a surprising winner. Tonnes of books have been written about the Big Apple, and loads of them – from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ to ‘The Great Gatsby’ are bloomin’ brilliant.

Next up was Washington DC, which has apparently featured in 43,977 books, followed by Rome with 34,981 books. The Italian capital also topped some genre charts, being the city that featured the most ‘classic’ and ‘poetry’ books. Makes sense, right? Given ‘Julius Caesar’ and all those classic Roman myths and legends.

Here’s the full list of the cities which have had the most books written about them, according to David Wilson Homes’ study. 

  1. New York, USA (79,384 books)
  2. Washington DC, USA (43,977)
  3. Rome, Italy (34,981)
  4. London, UK (31,368)
  5. Paris, France (22,497)
  6. San Francisco, USA (13,480)
  7. Boston, USA (12,827)
  8. Berlin, Germany (10,185)
  9. Los Angeles, USA (9,438)
  10. Chicago, USA (9,183) 

You can read the full thing, with a breakdown by genre, here. Then did you see that Paris’ Notre-Dame – famed for its legendary hunchback in Victor Hugo’s novel – now has an official reopening date?

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out Time Out Travel on Instagram.

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