BOOKPACKERS is a vibrant new travel experience taking novels on the road - ‘The Big Sleep’ in L.A., ‘Interview With The Vampire’ in New Orleans, ‘Beloved' in Cincinnati.
BOOKPACKERS uses novels as the late Anthony Bourdain used food - as an invitation to adventure, as portals to places and people, and to empathetic understanding.
A lifelong passion
‘Bookpacking’ is a word of Andrew’s own invention, and if he succeeds in getting it into the dictionary, he’ll die happy.
Bookpacking describes the thrill of reading the right book in the right place - something he’s been doing all his life. In 1984, just out of school, he read ‘Midnight’s Children’ in India. As a fresh faced 18-year-old, dazzled by India’s rich cultural ‘otherness', the novel served as a guidebook, helping him to understand, and to connect.
Since then, on holidays and filming trips, he’s always packed the right book. He’s read ‘The Leopard’ in Sicily, ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ in Barcelona, ‘Hideous Kinky’ in Marrakesh, ‘Cry, the Beloved Country’ in South Africa, ‘Exodus’ (Leon Uris) in Israel...
Each proved a profound Bookpacking experience: the book informing the journey, the journey informing the book.
Since moving to L.A., Andrew has read Willa Cather in Santa Fe, Ursula K. Le Guin in Portland, Truman Capote in New York...
And he’s turned this passion into his work - developing BOOKPACKERS both as a multi-format travel and media proposition, and as an immersive learning experience.
BOOKPACKERS AT USC
In 2017, Dornsife College at the University of Southern California invited Andrew to launch BOOKPACKERS as a cross-humanities concept for undergraduate education. In 2018, he was appointed an adjunct 'Professor of the Practice' in the USC Department of English.
BOOKPACKERS is now offered at USC in a variety of forms:
- On campus, Andrew teaches a 30-lecture class exploring the varied regional cultures of America through the prism of the contemporary novel.
- In May / June each year, he takes USC students 'on the road', leading a month-long BOOKPACKERS expedition to New Orleans. Students explore the Big Easy whilst reading local fiction - 'Interview With the Vampire', 'A Confederacy of Dunces' and more. Read their blogs describing the experience here.
- A class following the journey of the Joad family in 'The Grapes of Wrath', from Oklahoma to California, is ready for launch; and a residential BOOKPACKERS class in New York is in development.
- Meanwhile, Andrew is working with USC Dornsife to develop a series of experiential and immersive classes which will take students out into Los Angeles, exploring the culture of L.A. through the novels of Joan Didion, Nathanael West and Raymond Chandler.
For more information on BOOKPACKERS, visit the website at bookpackers.com.