Headlands Center for the Arts

Kate Folk

california | writing
Affiliate Program 2017—2018
Affiliate Program 2016—2017

Artist Statement

In the years since I finished my MFA, the style of my fiction has progressed from literary realism into increasingly speculative, absurd, and darkly comic realms. Through writing short stories, I’ve honed my voice and determined the themes I find compelling enough to explore in a book-length work. Having completed a story collection, Doe Eyes, I’ve begun drafting a novel that continues my venture into the territory of social commentary through speculative fiction. The book is also strongly influenced by the excesses and contradictions of the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’ve lived since 2008.

While At Headlands

While at Headlands, I’ll continue working on my first novel (working title: Scrims). The book explores the pitfalls of human intimacy through a fictional technology that allows for the outsourcing of emotional labor. In San Francisco, Isobel is becoming increasingly frustrated by the absence of her fiancé, Marc, who has ostensibly been traveling through Europe for the past six months, selling AI prosthetic limbs for the Palo Alto startup he works for. In reality, Marc has been living at Limbify headquarters the whole time, having hired a professional “scrim” to maintain his relationship while he decides whether or not to commit to Isobel.

At the Scrim Colony in rural Minnesota, Julia and Dustin are assigned contracts of varying lengths: from one-offs like breakups and firings, to long-term contracts, such as Dustin’s assignment to keep Isobel satisfied in her relationship with Marc. Julia, who has always longed to be a celebrity, is assigned the Colony’s highest-profile contact yet: that of a reality TV star who was originally propelled to fame by her movie star father’s conviction as a serial killer, and who soon becomes a murder suspect herself. The plot threads intersect as the AI limbs stage an uprising, Dustin falls in love with Isobel, and the secret of the Colony unravels under the scrutiny of a nationwide hunt for the fugitive TV star.

Selected Links

The Void Wife,” Gulf Coast, August 2017.
Heart Seeks Brain,” Conjunctions, November 2016.
“A Scale Model of Gull Point”Granta, January 2017. Short story.
“Tahoe”Joyland, January 2016. Short story.

Selected Texts

“Doe Eyes,” Hayden’s Ferry Review, Spring/Summer 2016. (98.31K)

Personal Website