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The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands
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The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  609 ratings  ·  160 reviews
It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-color illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storyteller ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 11th 2018 by University of Chicago Press
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  609 ratings  ·  160 reviews

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Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This first and foremost seems a coffee table book to look at and marvel: it’s full of imagined maps, old and new, mostly made to accompany stories ranging from Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe to Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter. Various writers and illustrators testify to their fascination for maps and how they portray the real reality, or the reality of a story. Because that is a recurring theme: reality and imagination are only separated by a vague dividing line, and in many c ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is enchanting! I love it!

I bought it for my son as he loves maps, geography, fantasy, history, imagination and the list goes on.

For avid readers of children's literature particularly fantasy and magic (Harry Potter, Narnia, LOTR, etc) the book has detailed black and white and color copies of all the popular maps plus more. I've already found one map The Land of Make Believe map which is so charming and would make a great addition to a child's room.

There are chapters from either the poi
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If for nothing else, I must give this five stars simply for the design. This is a fantastically well-made book—from the dust jacket, through the typesetting, to the end notes, to the end papers. Even the paper quality itself is nice stock.

As with any anthology, the writing itself varies. Most of it is musings on how inspiring maps are. The best pieces are thoughts from Miraphora Mina on Harry Potter and Daniel Reeve on Lord of the Rings, who did cartography, calligraphy, and other artwork for t
Matthew Richey
I became a map-lover at age 7 or 8. I had this old green atlas from the 1970s that I would fall asleep with every night looking at the maps of places I'd never been and wanted to visit and memorizing the countries and their capitals. I also loved road maps. When we moved from Washington to Colorado when I was 10, I loved following our route halfway across the country as we traveled. I would beg my father to drive out of our way so that we could go through states to which I had not yet been; I re ...more
Peter Tillman
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A beautiful book, but scattershot. I liked it, and it was (mostly) fun to browse. The illustrations are well-reproduced, and their interesting-factor (for me) was all over the map (heh). The essays, well. Some were interesting, others I skimmed. I did a lot of skimming, actually. It's a good book for browsing -- and skimming.

I love maps. In my days as a field geologist, I worked on topographic maps, geologic maps, air photos, satellite imagery, remote-sensing false-color stuff. A colleague once
Nathan Albright
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2019
Cartography is a somewhat underappreciated aspect of fantasy literature, and this book does a good job at putting fantasy literature with a sense of place that helps both the writer and the reader better understand the worldbuilding that is going on.  Sometimes as storytellers we can better understand the works we are reading or writing once we put pen to paper and sketch out the world we are dealing with?  What is the nature of the city we are dealing with?  Is it one of Calvino's shifting geog ...more
Pop Bop
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A Very Mixed Bag of "Story-Maps"

Read this book blurb carefully - "The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives.". It tells you more about this book than perhaps the publisher intended. A great deal of the text, (and there is a lot of text), is by writers and illustrators who share their personal histories with maps - as children, as readers, as "book lovers", as professional writers, and as artists. The book is illustrated with
Literary Redhead
I have read a ton in my life but never a book like The Writer's Map, which is a wonder! So captivating to look at and read, this gorgeous book contains the world — literally — within its 167 full-color images. Included are medieval maps and others related to the classics, sci-fi and fantasy, adventure, collectible comics, and nursery rhymes. For readers who fancy maps, literature and high adventure. 5/5

Thanks to the author, the University of Chicago Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opini
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a big reader of fantasy fiction, I found this atlas of imaginary lands so fascinating. At the best of times, I get very excited when I find maps in the books I’m reading so to have a collection of the most noted ones in a book is pretty cool. Such incredible and detailed artwork of the maps we found in stories we know and love from Narnia to Lord of the Rings to Moby Dick to Harry Potter and much more. The book gives insight as to how these maps came to be and how in some cases, the map actua ...more
Lorianne Reuser
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I was a child and my babysitter drew careful treasure maps for me to follow through the house, I have loved maps. I’m not even sure what came first - my love for fantasy fiction or my love for maps. This incredibly gorgeous book with its collection of essays and reminisces of writers and artists about stories and maps is one that you happily fall into and rediscover the wonder, the magic of fantasy worlds. I spent hours lost in tracing the colour illustrations, making my own pathways ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Writer's Map is a collection of short essays by various authors and illustrators about map-making and story-telling, interspersed, of course, by plenty of gorgeous maps. As a writer, I gained insight in how to use maps to help me in my writing, and the maps were interesting and inspiring. The essays themselves are a mixed bag, inevitably, but they're so short that it's easy to skim over the meh ones and linger longer over the better ones. In short, it's a good resource for creative types and ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it!

It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-colour illustrati
Nostalgia Reader
3.5 stars.

A love letter to literary maps, written by 24 writers and illustrators. Each brief essay gives the reader a glimpse into the author’s childhood, creative process, what maps they’ve found to be most influential on their careers as illustrators of maps or authors of books with maps (and oftentimes, both). The essays are complemented by many photos of a variety of maps, ranging from historical atlases to drafts of worlds (including original drafts of Narnia and Mordor) to the final elabor
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hovering between 3.5 and 4. Absolutely gorgeous book. Some of the essays are repetitive, and quite a few are dismissive of technology. Really loved looking at the maps though.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is such a gorgeous book, it's worth it for the pictures alone. Almost every fictional map I can think of is represented here, with many I've never seen before, and many non-fictional maps too. There are images of gorgeous historical maps I've never heard of and types of navigational charts that are new to me.

The text is hit and miss. Each chapter is written by a different person. Some of them are enjoyable explorations of a writer's process, or a recollection of how they became fascinated w
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful book about maps. I loved it so much!
Marta Pelrine-Bacon
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it transported me back to so many other books I've loved. ...more
Kimberly Reads Books
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
The Writer’s Map has to be one of the most interesting concepts for a book that I’ve seen in quite some time. Within its pages, the reader is introduced to the great imaginary literary worlds and the maps that inspired them and the maps that came from their stories and descriptions. The book is divided into several section, with each being written by a current author or illustrator. Details are given as to what fueled their love for writing about faraway places or their experiences that led to t ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good selection of essays by other map obsessives. Most of them got hooked discovering books-with-maps while growing up, eg Tolkien, Pooh, Pullman, so many more (lots I had never encountered). Plenty of references and leads to follow up. The plates are not as crisp as one would hope for, but a fantastic array of maps.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
No really what I was expecting. I would have taken more maps and less writing. This is an interesting concept and the maps are beautiful. Just not necessarily the way I would have done it or wanted it. Good idea but the execution could have been better!
Beautifully illustrated but not exactly what I thought it would be.
Alex Sarll
A gorgeous, enormous book in which to lose oneself – and I normally have no truck with anti-ebook grumps, but I really can't see this one working half so well in anything but its atlas-like hardback edition. As the title suggests, it's a celebration of maps in books – normally, though not exclusively, the fantastical or at least deeply idiosyncratic sort of map. It interleaves essays (by writers, mapmakers, readers and wanderers) with quotations from others, and above all with examples of the fo ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We love maps and atlases. We have a very large collection of atlases, and maps adorn most of our walls. Jim likes historical and topographic maps, and I prefer maps of fantasy lands. This gorgeous book, which features all kinds of maps along with essays about them, is the perfect addition to our library, but not one to file; rather, it will stay out, to be savored over and over again.

Most of the authors who have contributed to this book report having spent hours in their own childhoods looking a
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In order to properly appreciate this book, you have to really, really, really love maps. And I don't; my sister bought this for me as a gift because of the 'writer'-part. However, even though I'm a fantasy writer, I've always felt eh about maps; I've made one for a fantasy world in the past, but I'm yet to make one recently. They might be tools, but in fantasy books, I myself always end up skipping the maps. I'm more interested in the story, believe it or not.
But if there's one book that is so f
Katharine Ott
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, books-libraries
"The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones and published in 2018 by The University of Chicago Press. If you're willing to take a deep dive into the world of maps, especially maps in books, including the thoughts of map lovers, then track this book down right away. "Maps in books call to us to pack a knapsack and set off on a quest without delay, over-the-hills and faraway..." Both ancient and more recent maps are displayed, many on two-page spreads - so fun to pore ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Editor Huw Lewis-Jones collects the personal connections, the nuts and bolts of mapmaking, and the history of. Also, a ton of great maps! If you’ve ever dogeared or bookmarked that page in the front of the book, this is for you! It is an absolute joy to discover how storytelling and mapmaking connect and continue to inspire authors.

For the full review:

For all my reviews:
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Wide ranging set of maps with strong connections to literature. Inspiring and astonishing at times. Essays are of widely varying quality and interest.
Kristoffer Liland
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Not quite what I expected, but never the less a beautifully crafted book with many wonderful contributing voices and endearing maps of real and imaginary lands
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very pretty, but the essays have a bit of sameness after a while.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, arc-won
Really nice book about fictional maps, map and world making and the art/craft of writing. Doesn't work well on a Kindle (or i don't know how to do it) because the captions and art aren't together. i'll be buying this for a gift.

Netgalley was kind in letting me have a review copy.
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Se doctoró en la Univer­sidad de Cambridge y es historiador del me­dio ambiente y guía de expediciones. Pasa gran parte de su tiempo libre trabajando en regiones naturales, incluida la Antártida, y es un islomaníaco empedernido. Ha publi­cado dieciséis libros, incluyendo Imagining the Artic, Ocean Portraits, Explorers’ Sket­chbooks, The Sea Journal, The Conquest of Everest (con el que ganó el Prem ...more

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“It's easy to forget that old maps were once statements of the very latest in thinking: new visions brimming with the potential and power of up-to-date knowledge. The unknowns in such maps were warnings, certainly, but also became advertisements. When made visible on the chart they invited perilous new journeys as much as cautioned against them.” 0 likes
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