The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, Edited by Huw Lewis-Jones, prologue by Philip Pullman,


The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands
Edited by Huw Lewis-Jones
prologue by Philip Pullman
Purchased From Barnes & Noble
As the magnificent illustrator and author Chris Riddell says in his, the last essay in the collection, "Never Forget: The Beauty of Books,"

Books are gateways. They are doors. You can open them and step into another place and time. Another world. They hold our futures, but are also a treasury of our formative memories. 

Like books, maps are gateways, as well as guides. Maps - and books - lead us to new places, real and imagined. Reading The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands deepened my understanding of this magnificent quality while at the same time serving as an inspiration to return to magical places from my past and seek out new ones to explore.

As you might expect, The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands is filled with maps, their presence taking up more pages than the writing about them. Divided into four parts, "Make Believe," "Writing Maps," "Creating Maps," and "Reading Maps," the essays travel from Treasure Island to Fillory and everywhere in between. Approaching this gorgeous tome as someone who finds pleasure in reading children's books, and attracted by the many contributing essayists from the world of children's books (Cressida Cowell, Frances Hardinge, Coralie Bickford-Smith, Brian Selznick and Chris Riddell) I was not disappointed. Reading about the various paths that carried each author form a childhood fascination with maps to creative careers that include cartographical creations was intriguing, especially learning about the maps - real and imagined - that inspired them when they were young. Poring over the 167 maps included, many of which are medieval and early modern maps of the real world, is a treat in and of itself, making coming upon a map of an imaginary world even more exciting. I spent hours researching maps of imaginary lands while reading this book and writing my review and, when it comes down to it, there just aren't that many out there. Which is why it's wonderful to read contributions from Miraphora Mina, the graphic artist who created the Marauder's Map for the Harry Potter movie and Daniel Reeve, who recreated the maps of Middle Earth for the Lord of the Rings movies.

Lewis-Jones contributes three essays to this book and, as a historian, museum curator and professor, they are the most academic of the group, rounding out the collection.

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