Get to Know Writer-in-Residence Nathalie Kramer

January 23, 2020 9:00 AM
by Vera Wagman

Nathalie Kramer is the newest Writer-in-Residence at the Annenberg Community Beach House. She was born in Paris, and grew up in France and California. She studied fiction writing at Santa Monica College, UCLA Writers Program, and is a current MFA candidate at Bennington Writing Seminars from which she will graduate in 2020. Nathalie has received scholarships, fellowships and Honorable Mentions from Writing By Writers, the Disquiet Literary Prize in Portugal, Glimmer Train, and Orion Magazine’s Environmental Writer’s Workshop. She teaches Creative Writing at Santa Monica Community Education’s winter and summer sessions. Her stories have appeared in Santa Monica Review, and Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters. Nathalie is at work on her first novel, "californie" and will be in residence from January 15th –  March 18th You can follow her on her blog:  

 We spoke with Nathalie about her background, who inspires her and her plans for her first novel. 

Why did you move to the US from Paris? How do both worlds compare/differ - LA and Paris?  
I moved from Paris to Los Angeles when I was fifteen. My mother is from California and my parents wanted me and my sister to have dual citizenship. Paris and Los Angeles have nothing in common (at least in the late 80s). In Paris, I walked from the small village of the 5th Arrondissement to neighboring quarters on my own at a young age. One of the things I didn’t understand was the geography of Los Angeles. I was very dependent and often felt alienated; I wanted to move back to Paris, which I did at eighteen, and eventually I moved to New York. 

What was the very first piece you wrote? 
The first story I completed was called “Neige.” It takes place in Paris in 1978, during a rare, snowy winter.  (published in Faultline)

What artists have inspired your work and why? 
It depends on the time in my life; when I was younger I was deeply affected by works of Sam Shepard, Carson McCullers, Wim Wenders, Maguerite Duras––I wanted to write exactly like them. Each evoked the importance of a sense of place with its direct effect on characters in a way that was quite devastating. I was extremely drawn to that. Now, there are so many writers/artists I admire, when I absorb their work it nourishes me, keeps me writing. I don’t want to write like them, but I see what they can do that I will never be able to do. And, I can also see more clearly what I can do. 

What is the subject of your novel? 
The book I am working on now is a coming-of-age story set in Paris, France and California that mostly takes place over a period of time between 1968 and 1978. A young Parisian girl spends a formative summer in her American family’s beach house on the California coast while her parents are living in an ashram in Pondicherry, India. She is left in the care of her Uncle (her mother’s brother) a Vietnam veteran and avid surfer. 

If you could be anything other than a writer, what would you be?  
If I wasn't a writer, I would be a gardener in a place with four distinct seasons  

For more information about Artist Opportunities, including Artist Residencies, and to sign up for email alerts, please visit: 


Authored By

Vera Wagman
Event and Artist Residency Coordinator


Arts, Culture & Fun, The Arts