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Ambitious Los Angeles Anthology Looking for a Few Great Writers

Heyday, a non-profit independent publisher based in Berkeley, is gathering together some highly original overviews of our fair city’s history.

Its 2013 book project The Los Angeles Atlas will combine twenty 2,000-to-4,000-word essays with an equal number of illustrative maps. Each contributing writer will be paid $3,000 and is to be selected by locally based editor Patricia Wakida with the help of an advisory committee of “leading Los Angeles writers, scholars and thinkers.” Per the Heyday call for entries:

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.

In other words, those with a desire to highlight celebrity DUI hotspots need not apply. The deadline for preliminary Atlas submissions is December 31, 5 p.m. PT. Wakida is requesting via regular mail or email a letter of intent of no more than two pages outlining a quintessential LA topic along with the writer’s resume and recent sample of work. For a full PDF copy of the six-page “Call for Letters of Intent,” contact losangelesatlas@gmail.com. In the meantime, from that document, here is the sample topic of “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.)

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