Maya Binyam

Artist in Residence, 2024

Artist Statement

Across my fiction, I’m interested in exploring the impermanence of place, and how nations and cities, even those whose borders are carefully regulated, are warped by invention, speculation, and memory. Black refuge is a guiding theme: I tend to think of it as a productive paradox, an index for the conflicting narratives of life in the African diaspora. Lately I’ve been thinking often of Calvino’s Invisible Cities, in which he writes: “Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” The novel I’ll be working on at Headlands explores the false promises of cosmopolitanism, and the various displacements that give the metropole a sheen of endurance.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I plan to work on my second novel, HOLY FOOL, set between a remote, mountain-top village and a series of unnamed cities traversed by train.

Links to work samples:

Hangman (novel excerpt), 2023 (FSG)