Postcards reveal writers and artists' trips, treks and travails

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The Independent Culture

The tan is starting to fade, the suitcases have finally been put back into the loft and even though you've only been back at work for a couple of weeks, the holidays are starting to seem like a distant memory. Apart from the postcards, which have only just started to trickle through the letterbox after making their slow way via sorting offices all over the globe. Five such postcards have been sent to us at Observations: all are from writers and artists, and each describes an aspect of the relationship between their travels and their work.

The poet Imtiaz Dharker's collage-like postcard reflects the way she uses holiday scraps such as boarding passes and tickets to "retrieve" poems. The writer Jennie Rooney explains how a hike through Mont Blanc in the footsteps of an early Victorian tourist was the inspiration for her newly published novel, The Opposite of Falling. Likewise, romantic novelist Erica James, whose new book Promises, Promises is released this November, found a holiday in Venice gave her the idea for the book she says is one of her most poignant.

Badaude (the pseudonym of Joanna Walsh), this year's artist-in-residence at the Port Eliot Literary Festival, would prefer not to take her work with her on holiday, but as she quips wryly on the front of her hand-drawn postcard, "there's nowhere like the place you went to get away from it all to think about it". On the other hand, Sara Wheeler, a travel writer, is finding it only to easy to forget her work about the freezing Arctic in the heat of Provence.

From romantic writers on the Grand Tour and Beatrix Potter's family trips to the Lake District, to Austen's gibes at seaside holiday resorts and E M Forster's fascination with the British abroad, holidays have been inspiring writers and artists for generations and, as these postcards show, still are.