February 2014
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Los Angeles Atlas project seeks a cartographer

Hi All –

While this sounds like a cool project, I’m in San Diego and they asked me if I knew anyone in LA that would be interested… so I’m putting Patricia’s email out to this list.




Heyday Books is actively seeking a creative cartographer to work with on a wonderfully ambitious project called the Los Angeles Atlas, a book of original essays and maps about the ‘Los Angeles no one knows about’ as these stories and communities or experiences so often live in the shadows of all of the stereotypes.

We are envisioning one cartographer and one designer, who will be overseeing the visual aspect of this project, working with each of the final twenty writers and mapping out their themes in twenty newly commissioned, original maps.

Right now we are still in the process of identifying the writers and in January we’ll be culling down the submissions to the top applicants and asking for a second round of responses before choosing our final essayists. The actual map making process will likely occur between September 2013 and February 2014, although we’d love to have a cartographer and designer chosen as soon as possible, in order to sit down and work through all of the fantastic, infinite ways in which we can build these beautiful maps and give to give it an overall artistic direction. We also hope that the cartographer will be available as early as this spring to meet with us and the writers individually to discuss the topics of their maps and to get a grasp on how to give each map both a uniform clarity and its unique perspective.

If you are at all interested in being considered for this position of cartographer,we welcome you to send both a resume and work samples to share with our book production team, which is based in Berkeley, California. Although the publisher is up North, we are pretty adamant about wanting a cartographer in LA who knows the city and who can meet with the writers as necessary and myself as necessary. This is a paid position, funded by the Durfee Foundation.

If interested please send your cv and work samples to: Patricia Wakida, losangelesatlas@gmail.com.


Heyday (www.heydaybooks.com), a nonprofit independent publisher specializing in California literature, history and culture, is embarking on an ambitious project to create a book of original essays and maps that will allow readers to conceptually experience Los Angeles in new and highly imaginative ways.

Our project is deeply inspired by other books that explore and combine literature and landscape, including Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer by Peter Turchi, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon, and most importantly, Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City, a haunting exploration of San Francisco. We hope that the Los Angeles Atlas will inspire fresh perceptions of the metropolis , through the lenses of its myriad histories and cultures. In particular, we are interested in representations and perspectives of the city’s history and landscape that time and again, are overlooked or forgotten, in favor of narratives that emphasize LA as a place of glamour, power and their side effects. The Los Angeles Atlas isn’t a guidebook, nor is it a list of statistics or “best of” LA. What we’re reaching for is something that engages the imagination historically, visually, balancing the curious, amazing and substantive through great writing.

We envision a book that is intriguing, playful, and honest, with daring juxtapositions that reveal deep linkages and undercurrents of truth about Los Angeles that potentially alters one’s view of the city, its history, and its future. This project is funded by Durfee Foundation of Los Angeles, and we are working closely with many of the city’s individual and institutional cultural leaders.

To further illustrate the project, here are three examples of possible essays and maps:

• Urban forests in LA.

Essay: Before European contact, Los Angeles was largely a land of grassy meadows, chaparral, riparian forests, oak woodlands, and on the highest peaks groves of juniper and pine. In subsequent years trees from every continent have been planted to create an urban forest of immense complexity. Although climatically Los Angeles is close to a desert, this profusion of trees gives our area much of its character and support much of its wildlife.

Map and Illustration: The map may show features such as arboretums, botanical gardens, parks, college campuses, and certain streets of arboreal splendor; places where the oldest, tallest, rarest, and other notable trees can be found; sections of LA named after trees (Hollywood, La Palma, Walnut, Orange, Hawthorne, Cypress, Westwood, Lakewood, Maywood, Inglewood, Sherman Oaks, etc.)

• Indian LA.

Essay: The indigenous people and their heritage are almost invisible to most Angelenos, yet the world of the Tongva is all around us. This essay will focus on the Tongva people of today, their revival of language, customs, and practice, and the extent to which the traceries of the past and the accomplishments of recent years still have power and presence in our lives.

Map and Illustration: The map will show sites of archaelogical and historic significance, mission sites, murals, health centers, trading posts, etc. Streets and avenues such as Wilshire Boulevard that follow Indian trails, areas that still bear Indian names (Cahunga Pass, Castaic, Malibu, Topanga, etc.)

• Food and hunger in LA.

Essay: Although Los Angeles is renowned and celebrated for its delectable restaurants, its dizzying array of cuisines with international influences, and its ability to mold food trends, it was once a city dominated by agriculture and ranching. This essay will explore the past and present ways in which food has been grown, cultivated, harvested, and shared on the land we live on.

Map and Illustration: The map might depict where various types of crops, orchards, vineyards, chicken and hog farms once grew and what is now on that site today; sites where urban foraging occurs today, from elderberry bushes to freshwater fish, fruit trees overhanging onto public property to mushroom gathering in parks; community gardens, food pantries, farmers markets, neighborhoods without fresh grocers, migration of farm workers.

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