Call to Artists: Visualising Literary Geography

The Project

We wish to commission artwork to complement a new interactive website: The Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands.

The Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands will be an innovative website that provides interactive maps of twelve English-language novels set in Wales. These maps will not only chart the locations in which stories are set, but provide a wealth of other 'deep mapping' information: interviews with authors and experts; historical and geographical information about the locations; photographs; historical maps; and other cultural material relating to the texts, such as manuscripts, newspapers, artworks and films. (These materials can be made available to commissioned artists prior to the site's public launch).

The Commission

We wish to commission original artwork inspired by the chosen novels, with each artwork relating to one of the twelve books in the project.

Each artwork should seek to visually convey a geographical aspect of the novel, broadly construed. Such themes could include (non-exhaustive):

novel location; novel theme; novel genre and atmosphere; character-place relations; relations between real and imagined (factual and fictional) geographies; colonisation; language; movement; nationality; conflict; borders (etc.).

Through this commission, we want to play with traditional notions of cartographic mapping, and explore the possibilities of visually communicating the relations both between 'page' and 'place', as well as 'books' and 'maps'.

The twelve novels, and the locations in which they are based are:

  1. Revenant by Tristan Hughes (2008; Picador) Ynys Môn/Anglesey
  2. Twenty Thousand Saints by Fflur Dafydd (2000; Y Lolfa) Ynys Enlli/Bardsey
  3. Pigeon by Alys Conran (2016; Parthian) Bethesda
  4. The Owl Service by Alan Garner (1967; HarperCollins) Dinas Mawddwy
  5. Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce (2001; Bloomsbury) Aberystwyth
  6. Sheepshagger by Niall Griffiths (2001; Vintage) Aberystwyth and hinterland
  7. Strike for a Kingdom by Menna Gallie (1959; Honno) Ystradgynlais
  8. The Rebecca Rioter by Amy Dillwyn (1880; Honno) Swansea and Gower
  9. The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi (2000; Picador) Butetown, Cardiff
  10. Shifts by Christopher Meredith (1988; Seren) Tredegar
  11. Border Country by Raymond Williams (1960; Parthian) Pandy, Abergavenny
  12. Mr Vogel by Lloyd Jones (2004; Seren) Wales on foot

This commission has been inspired in part by the following work, but we are also open to more abstract or ambitious interpretations of the novels and/or their relationship with place:

  • Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas by Rebecca Solnit (2010, Univ. of California Press)
  • Plotted: A Literary Atlas by Andrew deGraff (2015, Pulp/Zest Books)
  • You are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katherine Harmon (2003, Princeton Architectural Press)
  • You are Here: NYC. Mapping the Soul of the City by Katherine Harmon (2016, Princeton Architectural Press)

We see this commission as an opportunity to further the aims of The Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands, namely:

  1. To encourage the critical and active reading of fictional narratives
  2. To promote an understanding of how literature can help strengthen individual and community identity
  3. To enhance cultural tourism

We hope that the resultant artworks will provoke the imagination of both the public and scholars. To this end, we would like to include the works on our website and in publications resulting from the project.

Creative decisions

We would like this to be a collaboration, starting with an initial meeting between commissioned artists and the Project Team in order to discuss novel choice and themes. The intended work, its form, size, and medium, will be agreed through this flexible and open process, led by the artist.


The artist will own the work produced, but will consent to provide the Project Team with the rights to use the work for non-profit purposes relating to the original commission. These uses will include reproduction on The Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands website, as well as reproduction in academic monographs, journal papers, and public exhibitions. Appropriate copies of resolution- and size-appropriate digital files will be provided by the artist in a format conducive to these end uses.

Any subsequent for-profit use of the artwork will be negotiated between the artists and the Project Team.


Payment will be negotiable on a case by case basis. Payment will be 50% up front, and 50% on completion.


We would like the finished works available in September 2017.

Contact Details

If you would like to work with us on this project, please send an Artistic Statement and links to/information about your portfolio to Dr Jon Anderson by Wednesday 22nd March 2017.

For queries and submissions, please contact Dr Jon Anderson on the details below:

Dr Jon Anderson
Reader in Human Geography and Director of Teaching and Learning
Cardiff School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University