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The Writer's Map

An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

Huw Lewis-Jones


The maps they love, the maps they use, the maps that set them dreaming: this is a spellbinding compendium of writers' thoughts on the wild landscapes of their imagination

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Maps have the power to transport us, filled as they are with wonder and possibility. Here a team of internationally acclaimed writers and illustrators share their personal insights, encompassing not only the maps that appear in their books, but also the maps that have inspired them and the sketches they create in writing.

Philip Pullman recounts a map he drew for an early novel; Robert Macfarlane reflects on his cartophilia, set off by Treasure Island; Joanne Harris tells of her fascination with Norse maps of the universe; Daniel Reeve describes working on The Hobbit films; Miraphora Mina recalls creating ‘The Marauder’s Map’ for Harry Potter. And there’s much more besides.

Amidst a cornucopia of beautiful images, including unpublished sketches by authors, there are maps of the world as envisaged in medieval times, maps from classics of literature and cherished stories, as well as maps of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, from Atlantis to Westeros, Narnia and Utopia, from Mercator to Tolkien – a great range of genres and makers.

An enchanting visual and verbal journey, The Writer’s Map will be irresistible for lovers of maps, and also for anyone who likes to get lost in a good book.


'Beautifully produced ... A reminder that a map is far more than a means of plotting a route. Like a book, it can transport you. It can work magic'
Daily Telegraph Travel, Book of the Year

'Absolutely gorgeous'

'That strange alchemy of words into cartography and sometimes vice versa – how wonderful it is to travel within the bounds of a book'
Daily Telegraph

Financial Times, Books of the Year

'Glorious … This exquisitely crafted atlas is a must for any passionate reader'
Woman & Home

'Book of the year for 2018. It gathers intelligently charming meditations from writers and festoons them with map after map after map after map of imaginary, and sometimes non-imaginary, lands'
Weekly Standard

Atlas Obscura

'I’m in love … this book is genius'
Jen Campbell, Christmas Gift Guide

'This delightful, engrossing exploration is for every reader who's ever admired a book or a map, let alone both'
Shelf Awareness

'The book is stellar. The maps are gorgeously recreated and cover a wide spectrum of type, style, time period, and intent'
Fantasy Literature

'A beautifully illustrated compendium'
Country Life

'Bursting with fascinating essays and maps, this is a feast for the eyes and the mind’s eye'
Cumbria Life


'Charts the landscape of literary imagination with passion and care'
NPR Books of the Year

'A gorgeously illustrated collection'
Map Room blog

'A writer’s love letter to the map'

'An enchanting collection of fictional cartographies ... spellbinding'

'Treasure to pore over on Christmas Day'
Mainstreet Books

'The ideal gift for the family bookworm'
York Press

'The quintessential coffee-table book'
Chicago Tribune

'An incredible love letter to invention, place, and the art of the map'
Zocalo Public Square

'Contains beautiful bold imagery and was particularly skilful when it came to the use of so many different typefaces on one page'
British Design and Production Awards, Winner Production/Trade Illustrated category

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.0 x 21.0 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Publication date: 4 October 2018

ISBN: 9780500519509

About the Author

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones is a historian of exploration with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was formerly Curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and the National Maritime Museum, London. His books include The Conquest of Everest (winner of the History Award at the Banff Mountain Festival), The Crossing of Antarctica and Across the Arctic Ocean. He is the author, with Kari Herbert, of the bestseller Explorers’ Sketchbooks.

List of Contributors

Philip Pullman, Brian Sibley, Cressida Cowell, Robert Macfarlane, Frances Hardinge, Joanne Harris, David Mitchell, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Piers Torday, Helen Moss, Abi Elphinstone, Miraphora Mina, Daniel Reeve, Reif Larsen, Russ Nicholson, Isabel Greenberg, Roland Chambers, Coralie Bickford-Smith, Peter Firmin, Lev Grossman, Sandi Toksvig, Brian Selznick, Chris Riddell