Check it out: Placing Literature is a new website that maps scenes from novels that take place in real and familiar locations — like, you know, places in Duluth, as shown above. On the site you can zoom around the map worldwide and add new points of literary interest. (The hot spots right now are New York, California, around Lake Superior and the Orient.)
From researcher/geographer Katie Williams:
The goal is to connect readers to the unique places that are important to us, like Canal Park, as described by authors like Danielle Sosin or Peter Geye and share that experience on a map. The web application was launched June 19 at the Arts and Ideas Festival in New Haven, Connecticut, and we already have more than 1,500 data points logged on the website.
Using the website, Twin Ports residents and visitors can check out the locations mentioned in the latest Brian Freeman (well, maybe not very latest until it’s available in the United States) thriller novel or Anthony Bukoski’s short stories. In addition to Duluth/Superior, scenes are plotted across the country (and world).
The data is crowdsourced, so anyone with a Google login can add a scene to the database by clicking on the map. Alternatively, users can also type in a city to explore the places that other readers have shared on the map. Our goal is community building through shared experience — readers can share sites in their favorite books, but also share their knowledge about places.
We envision a lot of uses for the data, like a library creating a reading group based on local literature, a tourism agency creating a walking tour of scenes that take place downtown, or a business highlighting its role in the latest spy thriller. But, there are lots of others.