Headlands Center for the Arts

Paul La Farge

new york | writing
Artist in Residence Program 2018

Artist Statement

I’m a fiction writer, and sometimes an essayist. I’m interested in cities, and the way the shape of a city might change the people who live there; I’m also interested in the shape of stories, and the way a particular form might shape the experience of the person who reads it. I’m curious about the potential of digital technology to be a medium for narrative fiction. But even as I look forward, I’m also looking back, and writing about times that now belong to history: the 1930s, the 1860s. I want my work to open a historical perspective to the reader, but also to inspire a certain amount of mistrust about how truly, and in how much detail, the past—or the present, for that matter—can really be known.

While at Headlands

I’m planning to use my time at Headlands to work on a new novel, one part of which takes place in a landscape that (I imagine) has some of the foggy, rugged majesty and ecological complexity of the Marin coast. I’ve been thinking about this project and researching it in one way and another for more than a year now, and I’m excited finally to get to work on writing it. A long stretch of time away from the usual distractions is an amazing thing, and I hope to use my stay to get deep into the thinking of this new book, to lose myself in it, even.

Selected Texts

Excerpt from The Night Ocean, a novel. (199.43K)

Personal Website