Beyond the bright lights and skyscrapers, stories unfold. Some are true, others are fiction, revealing tales of the city that often go untold. Chicago Literary Map is charting the text and placing it in the palms of literary-loving hands. The mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android allows its user to navigate by story, activating intersections and destinations all over the city. The website is a companion to the app, where stories and news updates are shared online.
Submissions are open and ongoing: from experimental to traditional, true stories, tall tales, poetry, song lyrics, conversations, and essays.
While other literary maps, where they exist, focus only on resources and famous writers, the Chicago Literary Map instead is a dynamic platform for writers in the present—established or not—enabling them to infuse their environment with their words. Readers can then traverse the city on a literary level, where updates bring new vignettes. As stories accumulate, people of all Chicago communities have the opportunities to read the stories of their neighbors and visitors, creating connectedness and compassion while expanding understanding. The platform also welcomes responses to keep the conversation going.
Chicago Literary Map
+ local literature application
+ augments reality with narratives
+ promotes literacy by encouraging people to write their experiences and read those of others
+ engages the emerging, established, and everyday writer
Idea as Mobile App
Chicago Literary Map was created by Stephanie Plenner, a communication designer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Chicagoland native. While she was writing entries for a mobile travel guide, she wondered how a navigable literary app could take form. She shifted her focus, collected stories and developed and released the Chicago Literary Map. Plenner has been a literacy advocate and encourages people to write memories that are often told. With strong ties to the windy city, Plenner’s literary cartography project couldn’t have started anywhere else.