For today’s Culture365 item, we’re not in the East. Instead, we find ourselves in California for Benjamin Johncock’s The Last Pilot, another masterpiece shaped by the inspirational East.

Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history, The Last Pilot begins in the bone-dry Mojave Desert during the late 1940s, where US Air Force test pilots are racing to break the sound barrier. Among the exalted few is Jim Harrison: dedicated to his wife, Grace, and their baby daughter.

By the 1960s, the space race is underway and Harrison and his colleagues are offered a place in history as the world’s first astronauts. But when his young family is thrown into crisis, Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the course of the rest of his life – whether to accept his ticket to the moon and at what cost.

While not set in the East, this region helped shape the novel. Author Benjamin Johncock wrote the majority of the novel in the seaside town of Southwold, Suffolk, before relocating to Norwich and finishing the novel at the Millennium Library with support from Writers’ Centre Norwich.

Pick up a copy of The Last Pilot in one of the region’s fantastic independent booksellers. The Book Hive is one of our favourites!

Feel like being inspired yourself? Have an adventure in Norwich and start writing that novel. Visit Norwich is the best place to go to plan your trip.