Carmen Maria Machado

Artist in Residence, 2017

A portrait of a person against a dark background.

Artist Statement

My fiction and nonfiction primarily center around the experience of being a woman in a world determined to crush, hide, expose, or swallow you. I write about psychological violence, women being alone with their thoughts, vibrant emotional landscapes against vibrant physical landscapes, sex in all its messiness and pleasure and complication, and the inherent capriciousness of memory. My creative process is sparked by formal conceits, by queer women’s relationships with their fathers, by haunted houses and haunted forests and haunted bodies, by women’s bodies in general (as physical objects, as political pawns, as sources of strength and frailty), and by the anxiety of illness. My characters have complicated theories about the world and are afraid of so many things, but forge ahead anyway.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I will be working on several in-progress projects: an experimentally-structured memoir (House in Indiana), an essay collection (The Trash Heap Has Spoken), and a short story collection (Vengeance is a Door). My residency will be occurring in the middle of the busiest year of my life—just after my wedding and immediately before my debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is released by Graywolf Press. I’m looking forward to this moment in the eye of the storm when I can regroup and give my burgeoning books the attention they need.

Selected Texts

The Husband StitchGranta

O Adjunct My AdjunctThe New Yorker

I Know What I Read That SummerThe New Yorker

How to Suppress Women’s CriticismElectric Literature

The Moon Over the River LetheCatapult

The Morals of the StoriesTiny Donkey

The Trash Heap Has Spoken, Guernica