Franz Seachel

Writer-in-Residence, October 2022

Franz is a multidisciplinary artist who creates to put more colour in this world; she means this both in the sense of brightening up the mundane with creation, as well as in her mission to uplift the truths of marginalized bodies. She is currently working on her debut novel about a brown millennial teenage girl, living in Surrey BC. It’s one of her goals to provide representation without tokenization. She is called to write a multi-genre novel, working with both poetry and prose, as a reflection and exploration of the self and how memory shapes character. Her writing is influenced by her other creative and somatic practices, including yoga, meditation and drumming. She knows that in order to observe feelings to write about them, one must first be able to identify the true self in a particular space and time; she uses these practices as a tool to tap into a more observational state and to write about her experiences with depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, living in racist and misogynistic systems, escapism though substance abuse and the longing to belong. She believes art is the greatest tool for genuine connection and won’t stop fighting for spaces where art and artists can create and thrive.




Residency Project

I am working on a multi-genre novel, which has received a Canada Council for the ArtsResearch and Creation Grant. “Faded Knee-High Socks”, is a portrait of a millennial teenager of Indian descent, named Elle, as she finishes her senior year at her Catholic high school. The novel asks questions about what it means to be both not “white” and not “brown” enough. As Elle makes plans for her post-high-school future, she tries to reconcile both her parents’ immigrant dream of stability and financial security, with her dreams of pursuing art as a full-time career. Against the backdrop of Surrey, BC, the novel explores the dangers of self-suppression, depression, anxiety and self-harm, as well as teenage party culture, female sexuality and body image, social media addiction,
and the need for genuine connections in life.

I want the addition of this narrative to work against the tokenization of the brown Canadian body. I want to show the Indian-Canadian, the child-of-Indian-immigrant, experience is not homogenous but varying. Living in Surrey, I was surrounded by bodies that looked like my own, yet I couldn’t connect to them. In high school, I didn’t have the language for dysphoria and didn’t understand that my lack of connection to culture was the truest source of disconnection and unrest. I had to meet depression and learn how to live with it. I want this novel to spark genuine conversations for those who need a language to understand their diasporic identities and what it means to “fit in”.