The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

Huw Lewis-Jones (editor)

Thames and Hudson 2018
A book review by Danny Yee © 2021
In The Writer's Map, some two dozen writers and cartographers and readers describe the role of maps in their own works or in those that have influenced them, exploring maps as both a spur to and a product of the creative imagination. This is accompanied by extensive illustrations.

The books and maps covered are largely drawn from fantasy and children's literature. Many of these I knew from my childhood, among them Earthsea and Middle Earth, D&D maps, The Phantom Tollbooth, Swallows and Amazons, while others, such as Discworld and Westeros, I met later. Many were new to me, especially some of the more recent children's books, and some of the maps are later creations: the journey in Watership Down overlaid on an topographic map of the real countryside in which it was set, for example.

Some works of literary and genre fiction also feature: William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County novels, Moby Dick, and Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps, among others. And there are a few historical maps, such as Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, and a representation of Viking cosmology, but there's no attempt to cover the history of cartography.

The Writer's Map is a lovely volume, with a great balance between text and illustration, and should be enjoyed by anyone who loves finding a good map in a novel.

January 2021

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%T The Writer's Map
%S An Atlas of Imaginary Lands
%E Lewis-Jones, Huw
%I Thames and Hudson
%D 2018
%O hardcover, illustrations, index
%G ISBN-13 9780500519509
%P 256pp