The Immeasurable World: Exploring Global Deserts

Sand dunes

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Join William Atkins as he launches his new book, The Immeasurable World

Journey across the desert landscapes that have fascinated explorers and writers for millennia. William Atkins explores the life, history, and iconography of these untamed places, in conversation with Philip Hoare.

One third of the globe’s land surface is desert, and much of it parched, treacherous, and inhospitable. The hostile climate, lunar topography, and existential blankness of these zones have confounded explorers over the centuries. But for those who call this forbidding terrain home, the vistas that fill travellers with dread bring more comfort than fear. 

Over the course of eight journeys to deserts iconic and obscure, William Atkins’s The Immeasurable World takes the reader to a landscape that is as much internal as physical. From the monasteries of Egypt to America’s southern border, via Oman, Australia, and Central Asia, Atkins beautifully exposes the life, history, and iconography of these untamed places.

At this launch event, Atkins will be in conversation with Philip Hoare, acclaimed author of Leviathan and, most recently, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, which was described by the Observer as ‘a masterpiece’.

William Atkins was a recipient of the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award. Each of the winners is awarded £20,000 and uses the British Library’s collections to research their upcoming publications during their residency. The Award is open to writers resident in the United Kingdom. Writers should be working on a non-fiction or fiction full-length book, written in the English Language, the research for which requires that they make substantial use of the British Library’s collections relating to North America (the USA, Canada and/or the Caribbean).

William Atkins grew up in rural Hampshire. After studying art history, he went on to work in publishing, where he edited prize-winning fiction. He now works as a freelance editor and author, with a particular interest in marginal landscapes. He lives in north London.
The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library

Image: William Atkins by Ander McIntyre


Name: The Immeasurable World: Exploring Global Deserts
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: Full Price: £10.00
Member: £10.00
Senior 60+: £8.00
Student: £7.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
Under 18: £7.00
Friend of the British Library: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546