Based in: Los Angeles, CA
About: Ilana Masad is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and criticism whose work has appeared widely. She’s currently a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is the author of the novel All My Mother’s Lovers. As a queer and nonbinary person with footholds in two distinct countries and languages, she is often thinking about how to slant and shift away from the easily defined, presumed, and assumed. With her core residency, she is writing and editing, Beings, a novel of three interwoven threads asking questions surrounding trauma, mental illness, and subjective truths that she believes are extremely relevant to our particular time when truth has become ever more subjective.
Project Title: Beings is about an isolated genderqueer protagonist obsessed with questions about memory and mental illness, an interracial married couple remembered as the first American alien abductees, and a newspaper journalist. In the novel, Masad explores, among other things, the intangible nature of pain, the fallibility of memory, the shifting definitions of what is or is not mental illness, and how these internal human experiences are at odds with our cultural and judicial system’s desire for tangible proof.