Discipline: Literature – nonfiction

Jenna Wortham

Discipline: Literature – nonfiction
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2018

Jenna Wortham is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. She is also co-host of the podcast "Still Processing," and co-author of the forthcoming visual anthology "Black Futures" with Kimberly Drew in 2019. While at MacDowell, she worked on a series of interrelated essays about dissociation and dysmorphia -- literal and physiological -- that treat locating the body as a neo-noir thriller that broadens out into concentric circles of inquiries and investigations about how the modern black female queer body has functioned through space and time. Her book seeks answers to the questions: What does it mean to participate in a body? To unmake and make one while inside one? My book is an investigation on the formation of identity, a blueprint for how to keep it, especially in our newly digitized lives. It’s about discovering the thrill of architecting desire outside of patriarchy, living in blackness and the freedom of exploring life beyond any earth-bound paradigm. I think about this work as a ritual, an unlearning, an unbecoming as a means to unfold. An exorcism in reverse. A repossession. It is a story about identity, and body consciousness, the liminal space between our masculine and feminine sides, digital homogeneity, intimacy, and lust.



Jenna Wortham worked in the Banks studio.

Banks, an ell on the north end of the Lodge dormitory, was first used as an artist’s studio in 1970. Since then, it has played host to an extraordinary list of writers working in several disciplines. In all seasons, Fellows have enjoyed the pastoral view through the French doors facing a field…

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