Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav


Best Seller
Ink by Ted Bishop
Paperback $16.00
Jun 06, 2017 | ISBN 9780143169574

Also available from:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Jun 06, 2017 | ISBN 9780143169574

    Also available from:

  • Jun 06, 2017 | ISBN 9780735234956

    Available from:

  • Oct 28, 2014 | ISBN 9780143193180

    Available from:

Product Details


“The history of ink and pens and the entire culture of writing by hand is a fantastic and (you knew this was coming) indelible subject for a book. But in the hands of Ted Bishop, one of Canada’s best and most entertaining writers, the subject becomes a thing of rare beauty—and, best of all, a story you won’t be able to put down. A brilliant accomplishment.” – Ian Brown, author of The Boy in the Moon

“Ink as the medium is also the message and in The Social Life of Ink, the hugely talented Ted Bishop offers a spellbinding, sophisticated, surprising and deeply satisfying exploration of ink—making ink, writing in cursive, calligraphy or print, Islam’s elevation of ink to the spiritual realm, and finally, wistful reflections on the renaissance of ink. The Social Life of Ink has brought me the peace of understanding some of my own eccentricities; for example, why I can only write outlines with inky pens or runny gel. It’s also sent me racing to buy a bottle of real ink for my fountain pen, neglected though much loved, and now an object of reverence.” – Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar and A History of Marriage

“In this latest quixotic, erudite, and entertaining adventure, Ted Bishop ambles from Budapest to Buenos Aires, and from Samarkand to Istanbul and New York City, scattering allusions to Virginia Woolf, Henry Miller, and Orhan Pamuk as he wanders. Bishop transforms the conventional travel memoir into an unpredictable narrative of quirky intelligence and good humour. More, please.” – Ken McGoogan, award-winning and internationally published author

“Who would have imagined that an exploration of ink could lead a man to Samarkand, Buenos Aires, Utah and Tibet? In all these places, and many others, Ted Bishop reveals how the act of writing represents not just a flow of ideas but the condensed expression of a culture. His constantly surprising look at the craft, art and spirit of ink is both quirky and humane, both inventive and wise.” – Mark Abley, author of Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages and The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English

“Part travel narrative, part hidden history, part cultural exploration, The Social Life of Ink is a fascinating book, with writing as tactile and fluid as ink rolling across rice paper.” – Will Ferguson, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of 419

Be the first to know!
More from Ted Bishop and book picks sent right to your inbox
More from Ted Bishop and book picks sent right to your inbox
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top