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The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  104 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 ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 11th 2018 by University of Chicago Press
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  312 ratings  ·  104 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 ...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
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 ...more
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 ...more
Literary Soirée
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.
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
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 ...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
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
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
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
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 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.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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 ...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
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
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:
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!
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.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm not done with this yet (because I want to savour every little bit) but I can already say that this will be among my Favourite Books Of Forever.
Beautifully illustrated but not exactly what I thought it would be.
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.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful book. Different authors talk about their love of maps and how they’ve used maps in their stories. It will make a great coffee table book as you enjoy looking at the pictures of maps featured on literature. Expect more than a coffee book, though. You’ll want to spend time reading the stories that will increase your love of maps. A great present for Christmas.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
A collection of writers', cartographers', artists' and scholars' accounts of maps of fictional places and how maps influence and guide fiction writing. While many of the essays included here are beautifully written and thought-provoking, every contributor is white, and although a few mention historical maps of non-Western places or non-Western influences, almost all of the maps and writers and places they cite are also predominantly white. So although I enjoyed reading about how ancient maps ...more
Jennifer Bentley
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book to read for the illustrations alone! I spent 3 hours just looking at the two-page map of "The World of Make-Believe," and I want to now chase down the fairy tale/nursery rhyme that features the city of brass and the Kingdom of Many Towers, as well as the hole labeled "Don't Go Here"?? This early 1990s hand drawn map of fairy tales and nursery rhymes makes mention of a few characters/places that I have never heard of! Gorgeous book. I also never knew that the Bronte siblings drew ...more
Stars In Her Eye
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I'll be honest: I didn't read many of the essays. I found most of them to be more about the authors than the actual maps. There were a few that piqued my interest; Phillip Pullman gave an inside look and the creation of the Marauder's Map from Harry Potter was very interesting. The best part of the book was, of course, the maps. There were many beautiful maps of a variety of real places as well as fictional places. I particularly loved looking at all eh different maps of Yggdrasil.
This book is
Gorgeous collection and discussion about the beautiful maps, real, historic, imagined, created, etc as they have appeared in our favorite books over the years. Featured are the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, C.S. Lewis, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.K. Rowling, L. Frank Baum, J.M. Barrie, and more!

This was a complete pleasure to read.
Kevin Hodgson
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Maps, stories, stories of writers and maps, of readers and maps, and some of the most beautiful pieces of art you will ever see in. I loved this book and wish I could afford a copy (it’s a loaner from the library)
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