bath_adjusted.jpgThe Bath Literature Festival kicks off this Saturday, February 23 and runs through March 2. Among the dozens of authors coming to this elegant Georgian spa town to read and talk about their books are Martin Amis, Jane Smiley and Terry Pratchett. Not the least because the town was home to Jane Austen for five years (from 1801 to 1806), Bath is one of my favorite places to visit here in England. I really hope to make it out for Sunday’s talk by esteemed literary biographer Hermione Lee, whose wonderful biography of Edith Wharton was published last year. It illuminates the many fascinating aspects behind this groundbreaking Gilded Age novelist (who was the first woman to be awarded the Pulitizer)–from her literary friendship with Henry James, her lifelong ties to Europe (particularly France, where she lived the last three decades of her life), and her talent for gardening and interior design. Her Berkshires estate, The Mount, and its elaborate gardens are a living testament to the latter.