Q: I would like to tour England to visit the homes of its famous writers. How can I find out where the various authors lived and what homes are open to the public?
A: One of the most comprehensive sources of information, a free foldout map called "Literary Britain," was recently published by the British Tourist Authority.
The full-color folder identifies more than 80 locations with ties to about 90 writers, including the homes where many were born and lived, schools and universities they attended and the landscapes, rural and urban, that inspired their work.
The map points out that the villages and countryside of Thomas Hardy's Dorset, in western England, are little changed from his day and that Bath, familiar to readers of Jane Austen, retains its elegant air.
Among the many homes listed are Bernard Shaw's at Ayot St. Lawrence, near Luton; the cottage in Chalfont St. Giles where John Milton fled plague-ridden London to complete "Paradise Lost," and the birthplace of Charles Dickens in Portsmouth.
The foldout map is available free from the British Tourist Authority, 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 701, New York, N.Y. 10176; (212) 986-2200. Enclose a self-addressed business-size envelope with 52 cents' postage.