Created by the nonprofit organization, Brink Literacy Project, The Literary Tarot is a unique Kickstarter campaign that brings together classic literature, contemporary storytellers, uniquely talented artists, and magic! This ambitious project tapped a whole slew of beloved storytellers to bring together a unique deck of 78 tarot cards. Each storyteller brought their own interpretation of the tarot card while also embracing the literary inspiration behind each card, whether that be Dracula, or Treasure IslandThe Great Gatsby.

The five artists chosen to illustrate each suit of the deck (Major and the four Minor Arcana suits) use a limited palette and the deck will have foil accents.

Literary Tarot
Card art by Shan Bennion and book design by Ejiwa “Edge” Ebenebe. Credit: Brink Literacy Project

“Books have always been magical portals to other worlds,” said Brink Literacy Project CEO Dani Hedlund. “In their pages, we unearth countless insights and secrets, inspiration and cautionary tales. Like us, these characters face uncertain futures, Towers rising up in their path or the Wheel of Fortune pushing them toward greater fates. As any great tarot reader knows, we can always change the trajectory of our choices. As we delve into how these classic heroes and villains handle life’s trials and temptations, so too can we divine our own futures.”

Here is a glimpse at the talent behind the deck. Major Arcana card pairings include:

  • Bestselling crime writer Chelsea Cain pairs The Emperor with Agatha Christie’s Poirot Investigates
  • PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novelist K-Ming Chang (Bestiary) pairs The Magician with Wu Cheng’en‘s sixteenth-century novel Journey to the West
  • Amal El-Mohtar (author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novella This Is How You Lose the Time War) pairs The Star with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Emily of the New Moon
  • Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Victor LaValle (The Changeling) pairs The Tower with H.P. Lovecraft‘s “The Outsider
  • Lev Grossman (The Magicians) pairs The World with King Arthur
The World Tarot
Credit: Brink Literacy Project
  • Talia Lavin (the author of Cultural Warlords and the host of the Moby Dick Energy podcast) pairs The Devil with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
  • Isaac Marion (the author of the bestselling Warm Bodies series) pairs The Hermit with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Bestselling Mexican Gothic novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia pairs The Lovers with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence
  • The bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng, pairs The Hanged Man with T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
  • Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-award-winning novelist Rebecca Roanhorse (Black Sun) pairs Death with Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Simon Tolkien (No Man’s Land: A Novel) pairs the Chariot with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island
  • Novelist and comic book writer G. Willow Wilson (The Bird King) pairs Wheel of Fortune with William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair

For the Minor Arcana, each suit is renamed to reflect the literary tools that brought them to life. Minor Acana Pairings include:

  • Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning writer Charlie Jane Anders (Victories Greater Than Death) pairs Knight of Light (Cups) with Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones
  • Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale) pairs Queen of Light (Cups) with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
  • Vita Ayala (The Wilds) pairs King of Light (Cups) with Homer’s The Odyssey
  • Tarot reader and host of The Word Witch Podcast Charlie Claire Burgess pairs Eight of Swords with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick (co-creator and writer of Bitch Planet) pairs King of Quills (Swords) with Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations
  • Bestselling writer Roxane Gay (The Bad Feminist) pairs King of Parchment (Pentacles) with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
King of Parchment Tarot
Credit: Brink Literacy Project
  • Bestselling horror writer Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians) pairs Three of Quills (Swords) with W. W. Jacobs’s seminal, supernatural short story Monkey’s Paw
  • Hart Hanson (creator of the TV series Bones and author of the novel The Driver) pairs Page of Ink (Wands) with Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain
  • Bestselling comic book writer Jonathan Hickman (East of West) pairs Ten of Quills (Swords) with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
  • Erin Morgenstern (The Starless Sea) pairs Five of Light (Cups) with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • Bestselling comic book writer Mark Millar (Jupiter’s Legacy) pairs Ace of Quills (Swords) with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes
  • Novelist and biographer Alec Nevala-Lee pairs Two of Quills (Swords) with Sophocles’s play Antigone
  • Novelist and comic book writer Benjamin Percy (The Ninth Metal) pairs Seven of Quills (Swords) with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat

The Literary Tarot campaign will run throughout the month of June.

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