26 November 2007


by Matt Rubinstein at 11:33 am

foreigners.jpgI’m about to be involved in an ingenious project devised by Brazilian author Daniela Abade. Dani has brought together a bunch of funky young writers from across the globe (and me) who will each pretend for a year that they are living in one of the other writers’ hometowns, where they have in fact never been.

I will be spending a virtual year in Graz, Austria, the birthplace of Claudia Chibici-Revneanu, who will be visiting Santos, Brazil, which Dani has left to explore Udine, Italy, the town that gave us Max Mauro but lost him to Mexico City, from where hails Gonzalo Soltero, who has the good fortune to be heading to Sydney. David McGuire and Florencia Abbate are swapping Hamilton, Canada and Buenos Aires—it was going to go all the way around but we lost someone along the way and had to redistribute.

Each of us will write a journal set in our assigned cities, and the sense of foreignness that attends any visit to a new place will be compounded by the fact that we’re not even visiting it. I expect the project will explore all kinds of interesting ideas about the way we inhabit cities and write about them. Or, as Dani says:

The condition of being a foreigner will be taken to the edge. The author will be such a foreigner to the place he is writing about that he won’t even know the city; he will have to find the city in his own imagination.

It should be great fun, and it all starts tomorrow at this website here.