26 Memory Maps

“Where are you from?”

It’s a simple conversation starter. A one-word answer is usually enough. Which is a bit of a shame, really. Because this is a question with the potential to reveal so much.

The 26 Memory Maps project invited members of the writing organisation 26 to answer “Where are you from?” in a more creative way.

We asked them to explore a place and time from their past by playing with a process of image-making and word-shaping.

Perhaps they would make some interesting discoveries? Not only about where they are from, but about who they used to be, and who they have become.

So here’s the challenge we set:

First, create a “Memory Map” of the place you are from. It might be a rubbish pencil sketch with little artistic merit. Or a beautifully crafted topographical masterwork. Either way, it will be fascinating – because it is uniquely yours.

Second, write a “memoir” about that place. To provide a focusing constraint, it must be exactly 150 words. Many of the writers also recorded a reading of their work.

Third, tell us about your creation journey. How did you find the map-making and memoir-writing process? This must be exactly 100 words.

And as a creative variation…. if you like, sit with someone else and make their map instead. Then write their memoir.

51 writers took part. 8 editors helped them to shape their work. You can enjoy the results on this website.

Special thanks to the team of editors who made this project possible: Elen Lewis, Hester Thomas, Sabine Harnau, Nick Parker, Francesca Baker, Lucy Beevor, Pip Trentham and Ashley Hoyland. And thanks to Rachel Marshall for creating this wonderful website.

Neil Baker
Creator, 26 Memory Maps

View the project here.


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