Writing Alumna Danielle Adair: One of 30 Under 30

Danielle Adair

A new anthology '30 Under 30' features the work of a CalArts alumna.

An excerpt from Danielle Adair’s (Critical Studies MFA 07) work, Selma, has been selected for this year’s 30 Under 30: An Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Younger Authors from Starcherone Press.

Selma is a “performance-manuscript” that explores the subject of manic-depression (bipolar illness); the text is a series of ethnographer’s field notes. In the project, Adair documents her travels to meet Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins University, a leading researcher of manic depression.

Jamison’s memoir on her own battle with bipolar disorder—An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness—serves as the ethnographer’s starting point.

Listen to an excerpt:


Adair incorporates multimedia as well as performance as an investigative tool for projects like Selma, for which she worked in community mental health centers. (For another piece, First Assignment, she embedded with forces in Afghanistan as a “war journalist.”)

From Adair’s artist statement:

In my practice I play within the conventions of historical, political, and pop discourse to bring attention to the institutions and roles we culturally inhabit…. These projects aim to ethically engage with contemporary issues by actively blurring the distinction between documentary and performance. Ultimately, I am interested in the point at which narrative and title collapse, the point where culturally generated meaning both coalesces and reinvents itself.

Adair will be participating in an anthology reading at the Center for Fiction in New York City on Sept 13. Please visit danielleadair.com for more information on the author, her upcoming performances and readings.

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