Apr 5, 2019
Maps are filled with stories
Writer and explorer Huw-Lewis Jones loved maps from an early age. ‘Maps are filled with stories. They are more than just documents that show a place, or give directions. They invite a journey.’
Huw, who will be hosting a conversation with two other important and award-winning writers at the Guernsey Literary Festival in May, has not shied away from wild journeys since he last appeared at the Festival in 2017.
‘As well as juggling life as a writer, I’ve been working in wilderness areas as a guide and expedition leader for the last decade,’ he says. ‘I’ll be at the North Pole again later this summer. So, you could say I love being out in nature and away from writing books! But, yes, I’ve always been drawn to places at the edges of the map...’
Huw’s latest book, the Writer’s Map, is an atlas of the journeys that some of our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives, and at this year’s Guernsey Literary Festival, he will be in conversation with Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Piers Torday, two successful writers who have contributed to the book.
The conversation, sponsored by Rawlinson and Hunter, will be on Saturday 4 May at 11.30 at St James. It is an event which will attract children as well as adults.
Kiran is a best-selling, multi- award-winning author and as well as taking part in this conversation, she will be giving an interactive, engaging talk in schools on her journey to become a writer, and how she crafted her stories The Girl of Ink & Stars, The Island at the End of Everywhere, and The Way Past Winter. She’ll be revealing what’s next and suggesting ideas for children writing their own stories.
Piers, who is also taking part in the Festival’s Education Programme, began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His bestselling first book for children,
The Last Wild,was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards. His second book, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The third book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond, was published in 2015 to critical acclaim.
His latest book for children, There May Be A Castle, was published in 2016 and was a Times Children’s Book of the Year. The son of the late Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Piers recently completed his father’s final unfinished novel, The Death of an Owl .
All three writers have been inspired by maps, says Huw. ‘I loved all kinds of maps growing up in Guernsey…old maps of the island of course, the perfect kind of treasure map, or remote places, a tin globe in my bedroom, or things pulled from magazines, or gathered up from days out…a map of London zoo…but it was maps I found in books that really got me dreaming. Treasure Island, or Swallows and Amazons, think Narnia, Tolkien, Jules Verne, old explorers, new worlds….all kinds of curious things...’
‘Piers and Kiran, like many other wonderful authors who are part of this book, have a love of maps that begins in childhood and now extends into their lives as bestselling writers. The maps they use, and the maps they dream about still. It's a landscape of the real and the imagined.’
Huw, Kiran and Piers have had another important part to play in this year’s Festival. They were the judges for The Write Stuff, a writing competition organised for local schoolchildren, which this year attracted 800 entries. Unsurprisingly, the competition featured imaginary places – and maps.