New Book Traces the History and Design of Vintage Beer Mats

There's a surprising literary connection to the coasters, too

An ad for the book "Iris Murdoch's Beermats" which collects the bar coasters of famed U.K. writer Iris Murdoch
A crowdfunding campaign is underway for the book "Iris Murdoch's Beermats."

When it comes to the world of beer and bars, retro designs never go out of style. Think about the number of bars you’ve been to with a vintage Guinness poster up on the wall, for instance, or the way vintage designs crop up on bottles and cans from a host of breweries. It’s not hard to see why these appeal to beer fans and design aficionados in equal measure.

All of which makes the prospect of a forthcoming book collecting a host of vintage beer mats, or coasters, from the U.K. a deeply enticing prospect. The book is called Iris Murdoch’s Beermats, and there’s a crowdfunding campaign underway for it as we speak. And, if the title is any indication, there’s also a deep literary connection to this project.

For those unfamiliar with the name Iris Murdoch, she is considered to be one of the U.K.’s greatest writers of the 20th century. Her novel The Sea, the Sea won the Booker Prize, and Murdoch herself has been played on the big screen by Judi Dench and Kate Winslet.

As Literary Hub noted in an article about the project, Murdoch also enjoyed collecting beer mats from the pubs she frequented. The project finds the Iris Murdoch Research Centre at the University of Chichester and the Iris Murdoch Archive Project at Kingston University joining forces with Unbound to bring this into the world.

In addition to selections from Murdoch’s beermat collection, the book is also set to contain maps of Murdoch’s favorite bars in Oxford and London, as well as selections from her writings. The project looks to be a fascinating trip back in time and a love letter to one writer’s enthusiasm for bars.


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