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A Description of Oakland by François Bon

French writer and translator François Bon will be the guest of writing residency A Room with a View from June 29 to July 23, 2018, to conduct a project entitled A Description of Oakland.

Since a first experience at Bobigny (a town located in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, in Seine-Saint-Denis), at the 14th floor of the Karl Marx Tower, François has never stopped exploring urban reality in his works, both on a social and on an urbanistic point of view. As a creative writing teacher, he is convinced of the importance for literature and writing to be linked with concrete actions in the field and to integrate a questioning on public spaces and territories: the writer has to leave his position as a mere observer if we wants literature to continue to have a say on our current world. Thus, for François Bon, reflections on cities (such as the ones that have been lead by Michel de Certeau, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bruce Bégout or Michel Lussault on American cities) are an essential laboratory for the forms of narratives today.


After three trips to the West Coast, in 2013, 2015 and 2016, and after visiting the Jack London house and museum, François Bon progressively got familiarized with Oakland, the city of this celebrated author but also an urban interface opening on the globalized ocean. He was stricken by the gigantic port of Oakland and the endless arrivals and departures of container ships – the emerged and material part of our numerical world. The port served as a starting point in François Bon's questioning, as you can see here or here in his video diary.


François Bon's project A Description of Oakland aims at describing and questioning this urban laboratory that Oakland is. François Bon will take the opportunity of this residency to meet the people who are transforming this artistic, urbanistic and social territory, to explore Oakland's urban singularities and to document his discoveries though filming and writing.


About François Bon

François Bon was born in Vendée, in 1953. He published his first book, Sortie d’usine, in 1982. Among numerous other books, fiction or autobiography, he wrote a trilogy on the rock (biographies of the Rolling Stones, Dylan, Led Zeppelin). In the 2000s, he experimented drama, documentary films and creative writing workshops. In 1997, he created his first website, that has become today his main experimentation platform: www.tierslivre.net. He currently teaches literary arts at the National School of Arts Paris-Cergy. He is the Founder & CEO of Tiers Livre Éditeur.