Trend Watch: Writers in Residence, Coming to a Transportation Hub Near You


When we read that Alain de Botton was serving as Heathrow Airport’s “writer in residence” this week, we were understandably flummoxed. Why would an airport need a writer in residence? What would he do? De Botton’s appointment, it turns out, is part of a public relations campaign for the airport. After spending this week at a desk in Terminal 5, de Botton will turn his research and notes into a book that will be published in September and given away to 10,000 Heathrow travelers.

While we’re still not sure if we’ll actually want to read A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary when it comes out, we have warmed to the idea of writers in (non-traditional) residence. After all, Jonathan Miles’s Dear American Airlines was really good. In fact, we think America’s airports could use a few more writers in residence. Check out our suggestions after the jump.

Chicago: O Hare (ORD) – As readers of A Heartbreak Work of Staggering Genius will recall, before he went all coastal on us, Dave Eggers grew up in suburban Chicago. Plus, we think pitching a tent in an airport and writing about it would be right up his alley.

Las Vegas: Mc Carran International (LAS)Charles Bock set his much-buzzed-about debut novel, Beautiful Children, in Las Vegas, we we think he’s a natural choice for LAS’s writer in rez.

San Fransisco International (SFO) – After satirizing Silicon Valley in her debut novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Janelle Brown could pick up where she left off and send up all the NorCal techies with private planes.

New York: La Guardia (LGA)Julie Powell wrote Julie and Julia while living in Queens, the borough that’s also home to LGA. We’d like to hear her take on airport food.

New York: Kennedy International (JFK) – On a slightly more international note, New York’s JFK could play host to Irish New York transplant Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland.

Newark Liberty International (EWR)Junot Diaz‘s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is as much a hymn to New Jersey as it is to the Dominican Republic. We bet he’d find at least a little bit of the fukú curse at EWR.

Detroit Metro Wayne County (DTW)Jeffrey Eugenides is the patron literary saint of Detroit and as obvious pick for its airport’s writer in residence.

Los Angeles International (LAX) – In honor of his new L.A.-set detective novel, we’d like to see the famously reclusive Thomas Pynchon make an appearance at LAX.

Did we miss any airport/writer matches? Let us know in the comments!