The Written Image: Windows on the World

From the November/December 2014 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

As writers, the view from our desk is important. We look out the window to ponder our work and the world, and what we see—be it a bustling city street, a suburban backyard, or a quiet country landscape—can offer perspective and provide inspiration for the stories we create. This month, artist and architect Matteo Pericoli explores this idea with Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views (Penguin), a collection that pairs drawings of views from the desks of writers around the world with essays by those writers about where they write, what they see, and how their view informs their work. With an introduction by Paris Review editor Lorin Stein, Windows on the World features the desk-side views of writers including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Lagos, Nigeria; T. C. Boyle in Montecito, California; Teju Cole in Brooklyn, New York; Edwidge Danticat in Miami, Florida; Daniel Kehlmann in Berlin; Karl Ove Knausgaard in Glemmingebro, Sweden; and Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul. Working from photographs taken in authors’ homes and offices, Pericoli has created a pen-and-ink illustration of each window and the view it frames. In the image above, Orhan Pamuk’s desk overlooks the Istanbul coast, which opens to the Sea of Marmara—a scene that has served as the backdrop to the author’s workdays for the past fifteen years. “I know some part of me is always busy with some part of the landscape,” Pamuk writes, “following the movements of the seagulls, trees, and shadows, spotting boats and checking to see that the world is always there, always interesting, and always a challenge to write about: an assurance that a writer needs to continue to write and a reader needs to continue to read.”

Photo Credit: Matteo Pericoli


What a neat concept.  It is

What a neat concept.  It is really interesting to see the space that a writer inhibates.  Writers are so different, it is always interesting to see how others "live."  And even better, seeing what they see that inspires them to create great art.  Janelle