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Map for the Heart
Map for the Heart

Map for the Heart

Ida Valley Essays


280 Pages, 6 x 9.25

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Trade Paper, $23.00 (US $23.00) (CA $31.00)

Publication Date: January 2021

ISBN 9781988592565

Rights: US & CA

Otago University Press (Jan 2021)


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To live in Central Otago is to come to terms with the dominance of nature. Writer Jillian Sullivan set out to walk the hills and mountains of the Ida Valley where she lives, and follow the Manuherekia River from the mountains to its confluence with the Clutha/Mata-au. Her aim was to explore not only the land and river for themselves, but the ways in which we grow in intimacy with where we live; how our histories, and those of the people who went before us, our experiences of loss and love, our awakening to what is around us, bring us closer to community—closer to a meaningful life. Map for the Heart is a haunting collection of essays braiding history and memoir with environmentalism amid an awareness of the seasonal fluctuations of light and wind, heat and snow, plants and creatures, and the lives and work of locals. In writing that is psychologically nurturing and deeply attentive to all that's around, Sullivan leads readers to the core of the questions that persist throughout a life: who to love, how to love, how to be independent and yet how to live a moral life that also cares for others. The land reminds us, she writes, that we are not in charge.


"Jillian Sullivan's energy, curiosity, humour and profound love of place are condensed into these splendidly penned essays, which are both a hymn of praise and a prayer of hope. She writes alert to the small observations that reveal larger truths, and with an abundant heart whose beat echoes off the hard hills of her beloved Ida Valley." —Grahame Sydney

Author Biography

Jillian Sullivan lives and writes in the Ida Valley, Central Otago. Her 12 published books include creative non-fiction, novels, memoir, short story collections, and poetry. She teaches writing workshops in New Zealand and the US. Once the drummer in a women's indie pop band, her passion now is natural building and earth plastering. Her latest book is the memoir A Way Home, about building her own strawbale home (Potton and Burton, 2016).