Storyteller as Cartographer

Caleb Winebrenner · November 2, 2021

This weekend I presented at the Power of Words Conference! The conference is one of my favorite events of the year, bringing together storytellers, poets, educators, and activists committed to community justice in its various forms.

My session was “Storyteller as Cartographer: Mapping the Imagination” and explored connections between literature, maps, and memory. True to the mission of the conference, it included some writing + storytelling prompts for people to be creative. As one of my first experiments in being both a storyteller and cartographer (simultaneously), I’m so delighted in how it turned out! The workshop allowed me to share some of my favorite works of literature through a cartographic lens – like sharing an image from Google Earth of the approximate location of the burrow from Watership Down, discussing the map from The Phantom Tollbooth, or exploring ways in which one visual artist has “mapped” Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Deep gratitude for TLAN for the opportunity to present and the gracious compliments from attendees. I’m hopeful that I can present the workshop at other storytelling conferences in the future or perhaps expand the workshop into some sort of online course for storytellers and mapmakers alike.

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