The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Worlds. Edited by Huw Lewis-Jones

In the fall of 2010, I decided to start reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series. I knew that HBO was going to make a show based on the books, and I thought it would be the perfect time to dive into the land of Westeros. My first move was buying A Game of Thrones. My second move was to buy a map of the famous island. I had heard many things about the books; besides adding twenty characters every hundred pages, Martin is apt to shift the setting pretty quickly, and I did not want to get lost.  I put the poster up next to my bed, with the condition that I’d only keep it up there until I finish the series. Yeah, we all know how that’s going…

The Writer’s Map is for people like me. People who include notes to publishers with their reviews asking, “Will there be a map in the final draft?” People who look at graph paper and see tombs and dungeons and locks needing a DC 15 dexterity check.  People who escape in the possibilities of other planets, plains, and plats.

The Writer’s Map is a thorough examination of literary cartography.  It is a collection of authors’ and artists’ writings about maps, and the maps that inspire them. The essays cover their personal connections to maps, the history of literary cartography and its continued inspiration of future writers and artists. From the Hundred Acre Woods to Middle Earth to the worlds that have been imagined so far beyond ours.

David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, sketches his settings while planning out his narratives.  Cressida Cowell, author of How to Train Your Dragon, spent many summers of her youth on a small island off the coast of Scotland developing her writing and honing her drawing talents. Other artists and writers were inspired by real maps and expeditions.  There’s even a couple entries about designing the movie props for the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films.

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.

5 out of 5 stars

Releases on October 22nd.

Thank you to NetGalley, University of Chicago Press, Huw Lewis-Jones, and all the authors included in this book for the advanced copy for review.


8 thoughts on “The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Worlds. Edited by Huw Lewis-Jones

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  1. That’s a pretty neat idea! I too do love maps in my books, but I have to admit that I don’t consult them every time the setting changes or something new is added. I feel like it kills the reading experience, well.. the rhythm. But I love the idea you had for your GoT reading plans! A bit sorry for you that the map might have to stay up there for… ever with GRRM not completing that series anytime soon too! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean. I’ve felt that too. GoT was easier for me to take a break from after those large, setting-shifting chapters.

      A good blend of memoir, story-building, and history in this one.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking out the review!
      For many of the authors, it’s definitely a two-way street. The map inspires the writing and the writing inspires the map. Some very cool passages in this one.


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