Headlands Center for the Arts

Nishant Batsha

california | writing
Affiliate Program 2019—2020

Artist Statement

As a writer whose work sits at the intersection of diaspora and displacement, I explore narratives of migration couched in an exploration of the natural and built environment of California. My writing comes out of my academic training as a historian and involves an examination of personal experiences through narrative, discourse, and the contingencies born of historical events.

While at Headlands

For the past eight years, I’ve been working on a novel that has gradually split into three books—Washed Ashore, All That Floats, and The Tideline. The first two books quietly observe Californian lives as they’re overturned by global calamity and strife: a would-be botanist migrating to Hayward as her South Pacific nation crumbles around her, and a recently-graduated mathematician heading to Fremont from India via the Midwest, his daily life brought to a halt by the tragedy of terrorism. The third book tells the story of their only son as he seeks refuge on the Mendocino coast during a crisis of health and precarious employment. As a Headlands Affiliate, I will continue to revise Washed Ashore and All That Floats. I will also expand upon The Tideline, which examines the possibilities of desire in a near-future California marked by catastrophic wildfires.

Selected Texts

“Bound and Fed,” December 3, 2018; from Popula

“Cast Your Burdens,” December 3, 2015; from The Offing

“Write What You (Don’t) Know: Graduate School, Research, and Writing a Novel,” April 30, 2018; from The Millions

“‘This is not a time for frivolity or entertainment’: An Interview with Cecile Pineda,” from Ploughshares

Personal Website

http://www.nishantbatsha.com