New Islands

published in USA and Canada as Elsewhere (University of Chicago Press)

‘Extraordinary… A fascinating and intelligent book.’ Sunday Times

New islands are being built at an unprecedented rate whether for tourism or territorial ambition, while many islands are disappearing because of rising sea levels or
fragmenting due to shrinking ice. It is a strange planetary spectacle, an everchanging map which even Google Earth struggles to keep pace with. In The Age of Islands, explorer and geographer Alastair Bonnett takes the reader on a compelling and thought provoking tour of the world’s newest, most fragile and beautiful islands and reveals what, he argues, is one of the great dramas of our time. From a ‘crannog’, an ancient artificial island in a Scottish loch, to the militarized artificial islands China is building in the South China Sea; to the disappearing islands that remain the home of native Central Americans to the ritzy new islands of Dubai; to Hong Kong and the Isles of Scilly; to islands far away and near; all have urgent stories to tell.

Available in English, German, Chinese, Dutch, and Spanish

One of the “15 libros de viajes recomendados para este verano 2022”, El Periodico, 8 August, 2022,

Published in USA and Canada as Elsewhere: A Journey into our Age of Islands . Beck, Germany; Face, Taiwan; Fontaine, Netherlands; Blackie Books, Spain, with Spanish Preface.

University of Chicago Press #AuthorAtHome video introduction:

Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Alastair Bonnett (Author), Damian Lynch (Narrator), Weidenfeld & Nicolson (Publisher)

With maps and photos by the author

“The Age of the Island is an essential guide to islands in a state of flux, be they emerging or disappearing. … This highly accessible volume allows the reader to accompany Alastair Bonnett on his seemingly inexhaustible global journey to set foot on new and disappearing islands on (almost) every continent.” Island Studies Journal,

Hunga Tonga – new island in South Pacific
The World islands, Dubai
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Cornelius Lely (creator of modern polder building) sculpture, Flevopolder
Phoenix Island, China

‘In The Age of Islands, Alastair Bonnett combines a deep knowledge of history and contemporary geopolitics with a seasoned travel writer’s eye for the telling detail, as he gives us
a tour of our terrifying but often beautiful new world.’

‘Alastair Bonnett’s reporting of islands new and ancient: from trash islands to military islands to brand-new, environment trashing ‘ultra-star’ islands to approaching-extinction islands is a well-researched and open-handed cautionary tale for our times.’

‘An ambitious journey by wing, sail, rubber and road to find
the lost, emerging, off-limits and artificial islands of our fast changing world. Once again, Bonnett respectfully drags geography back to its roots.’


Traducción: Pablo Álvarez Ellacuria

Blackie Books

“Tras el gran éxito de ‘Fuera del mapa’ y ‘Lugares sin mapa’, el divulgador y geógrafo Alastair Bonnett vuelve a iluminarnos con sus geografías sin cartografiar” Diario de Jerez

Press Coverage

Interview, ‘Les îles artificielles ont-elles un avenir?’, ATLAS, 28 April 2023, 

Giocare col fuoco di domenica, Radio Popolare, 16 April 2023,

說好「明日Die魚」故事 [Telling the story of marine death] 29 March 2023, Epoch Times,

Bonnett, A. ‘Why we’re still building islands: Risky but desirable artificial islands remain popular urban solutions, 10th February 2023, City Monitor,

‘Fantomöarna: fantasier som sattes på kartan’, 14 November, 2022, OBS, Sveriges Radio,

Illes artificials, un mon que inclou l’absurd’, 27 October 2022, Diario de Mallorca,

‘Gruinard, la isla arrasada con ántrax por los británicos y oculta durante medio siglo’, 18 July 2022, Cultura Inquieta,

La 2, ‘Página 2′ [‘’Página Dos’ viaja gracias a los libros … dibujará un mapa de islas misteriosas gracias a Alastair Bonnett’]; 28th June 2022,

‘Islands in the Sun: Según un geógrafo inglés, “se están construyendo islas a una escala nunca vista’”, Montevideo Portal, 14th June 2022,–se-estan-construyendo-islas-a-una-escala-nunca-vista–uc824670

‘Alastair Bonnett traza el mapa de las nuevas y las viejas islas’, LOFT.IT, 25 May 2022,

‘Esto no es una guía de viaje: 100 islas para entender nuestro future’, Diario de Jerez, 23 May 2022,

La era de las islas, Efecto Naím, 28 March 2022,

Interview, ‘Building new lands’ Geographical, March 2022, pp.52-3

‘Por qué estamos en “la era de las islas artificiales’”, Prensa Mercosur, 6 Feb 2022,

‘Nel mondo ci sono sempre più isole artificiali’, 29 January 2022, Wired,

A VerySpatial Podcast: 683: This week we talk to Dr. Alastair Bonnett about islands, diversity, and his recent books, 23 January 2022,

‘Mitologia de Tonga já previa devastação causada por tsunami’, 23 January 2022, nossa,

[CORRECTION: the article above – reproduced in English on other sites – says I visited Hunga Tonga. I certainly tried but bad weather forced me to turn back].

‘La construcción de islas artificiales está de moda’, 12 January, 2022, Nosabesnada,

‘Las islas artificiales, los peores enemigos de la sostenibilidad’, 9 January 2022, Escudodigital,

Why we are in ‘the age of artificial islands’,’ 7 January 2022,,

One of 6 best science books of 2021 according to New Scientist (Netherlands)

“islands on earth: constructed (such as the Flevopolder), ‘accidental’ creation (such as the volcanic Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai of Tonga), disappearing (such as the British Isles of Scilly) and future (such as East Lantau Metropolis near Hong Kong). He does this in such an infectious way that you almost have the feeling that you are accompanying him on all his trips. Highly recommended if you want to dream away scientifically to faraway places during the Christmas holidays.”

‘Das Zeitalter der Inseln’: Gefährdetes Paradies, 21 December 2021, Der Standard,

‘Mehr Land in Sicht’ anBord, 9 December, 2021,

Interview: ‘Nightlife: featuring islands and why we like to build them’ ,

Suzanne Hill examines humanities fascination with islands over the centuries with UK Geographer Alastair Bonnett, author of “The Age of Islands: In Search of New and Disappearing Lands” 17 September, 2021, ABC Radio, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

’Garbage Island: One day, may we live on an island of plastic waste?’, [垃圾島:有一天,我們可能住在塑膠廢棄物的島嶼上嗎?] CommonWealth Magazine, 13 September, 2021,

How to Build an Island
All you need is a dream, investors with deep pockets, and concrete. A lot of concrete
Bonnett, A. ‘How to Build an Island’, Atlas Obscura, 17 August 2021,

Dominic Bliss, ‘New islands can be natural or artificial. Both can be problematic’, National Geographic, 14 July 2021

Interview, Arte TV, ‘Sehnsucht, Freiheit, Isolation’, Twist, 25 June 2021,

Interview, Arte TV, ‘Sehnsucht, Freiheit, Isolation’, Twist, 25 June 2021,

’From Lantau Tomorrow to Dubai’ [從明日大嶼到杜拜:陸沉時代的造島世紀], 4 October 2021, CUP,

‘Überall und grenzenlos’ WDR 3 Radio 18 September 2021,

Bonnett, A. ‘”Island Times”: Phoenix Island is Known as “Oriental Dubai”, attracting many rich Chinese’, The News Lens, [Taiwan], 5th August 2021,

’L’avenir est dans les îles ? A propos de «The Age of Islands” d’Alastair Bonnett’, 23 July 2021,,

Bonnett, A. ‘Best Books about Islands’, Discover the Best Books, July 2021,

Bonnett, A. ‘The Age of Islands’, Natural History Magazine, February, 2021, pp.28-31

Interview, On islands/Alastair Bonnett, This is Hell Radio (Chicago), 17 November 2020

Kontext,, 6 August 2021,

‘De magie van eilanden’, Leesvoer, Robert Visscher and Martine Zeijlstra, June 7 2021, [podcast],

‘Die Möglichkeit einer Insel’, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 20 April 2021 ,

‘Land in Sicht’, Sonntagszeitung, 18 April 2021,

‘Mehr Land’, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 1 April, 2021,!amp?reduced=true

‘Ein planetarisches Spektakel’, Der Speigel, 18 March 2021, ,

  ‘Deppendorf, Einsamkeit, Pups: Kuriose Ortsnamen, die schmunzeln lassen’, Badische Zeitung, February 20, 2021,–200152604.html

‘De magie van eilanden: wegdromen naar verre plekken’, New Scientist, 22 January 2021,

‘Smelten ijs Groenland en Antarctica kan leiden tot stijging zeespiegel met 65 meter’, dpg media, 29 November 2020,

 ‘Enge, nieuwe en zielloze eilanden’,, 27 November, 2020,

Interview, David Astle Show, ABC Radio, 10 October 2020

Passport Podcast: The World Islands in Dubai, 29 September 2020,

為什麼大家都想航向小島?專訪《地圖之外》作者Alastair Bonnett拆解島嶼神秘吸引力 [Why does everyone want to head to an island? Interview with “Beyond the Map” author Alastair Bonnett dismantling the island’s mysterious attraction]La Vie [Taiwan] 5 August 2020,

‘The World’ islands under construction, Dubai

‘How a Newcastle author accidentally wrote the perfect lockdown travel book’, The Chronicle, 20 June 2020,

Interview, ‘The rise and fall of islands’, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 11 June 2020