Map for the Heart


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. It 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.


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


Jillian Sullivan’s love for the Ida Valley is external and internal, her senses gathering up layers of mountain, movement of water, smell of snow, and tenderly unwrapping them so that they can be absorbed into our lives as well. All our seasons of life are in this book. The writing so beautiful

it fills me with wonder, laughter and tears. – Joy Cowley

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