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Writing (MA)

Lars Stannard

a satellite view cities and their surrounding suburbs with the text: Can we ever get away from the sprawl?

This piece is a selection of text from a work of autofiction I submitted for my Final Major Project. In this piece, I explore how suburbia fosters toxic masculinity, apathy, racism, sexism, and placelessness and how that creates disillusioned — yet privileged — young men. I then explore the violence and societal harm that follows, doing so through the lens of a cliched teen drama focused around myself and a fictional group of friends known as The Good Squad. 

Throughout the piece, I use each character to relay these harmful themes, and how their hatred affects other characters. I also touch on how this all relates to larger late-stage Neoliberal Capitalism, and how the suburbanisation and corporatisation of American cities have done a lot of harm to the people living in and outside them. I take a similar tone as to how my friends or I used to talk and tell stories as teenagers. 

The events written throughout the piece are largely based on true events, although altered to better fit the narrative and my character’s own internal analyses. The only people who are “real” throughout the piece are my parents, my younger sister, and myself. Much of the analysis in this piece comes from theorists and authors such as Jane Jacobs, Laura Bates, R.W. Connell, and the Strong Towns organization, and I explore the intersections between late-stage neoliberal capitalism, suburban design, incel and alt-right internet cultures, and toxic masculinity. 

Content warning: several characters use racial and other derogatory slurs throughout this piece. There is very strong and foul language used frequently throughout the text, and there are scenes of physical violence, mentions of sexual violence, and scenes of harassment. Those sensitive to this kind of language are discouraged from reading this piece.


Written Autofiction

My submission for the “Archaeologies” workshop during the Writing Programme, I go on to talk about Paul Wellstone — a senator from my home state of Minnesota, who died while he was in office in a plane crash. Being the “Bernie Sanders before Bernie Sanders”, I talk about the effect Wellstone had on the resurgence of the American left, why that’s important for current American politics, and why steering American politics to the left is for the better.



In a short piece written for the RCA Scrawl Society’s first publication, I write an autofictional account of my first car, car culture in the United States, and the only time I’ve ever been in a crash.


Written Autofiction
repetitions of a face diving down

Two shorter pieces written as part of a larger collection of experimental prose called “The Bunker”. These pieces follow unnamed soldiers, workers, and people living under a Fascist totalitarian government. The works are a response to the Futurist art movement of the 1930s, the Futurist Manifesto, and their connections to what eventually became European Fascism. “The Bunker” serves to highlight the inherent contradictions of right-wing ideology, and uses horror to create political commentary.


Experimental Prose

Lars Stannard is a writer, editor, and aspiring educator from the U.S. state of Minnesota. He is a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art’s MA Writing Programme, although he has been writing fiction about the suburbs, neoliberalism, collapse, his car, his friends, and thinly-veiled cultural and political critiques of the United States since he was an angsty teenager. 

In his storytelling, Lars is an over-exaggerator and/or (as his mother would put it) an “Edward Fudwupper”. He writes with humour and an optimistic fury to convey his stories, points of view, and arguments through his essays and fiction. During his time at the Royal College of Art, he especially explored how he can relay theoretical concepts like toxic masculinity, the failings of neoliberalism and austerity, and the placelessness of suburbia through a more accessible fiction lens. 

Lars also specialises in screenwriting, collaborating with several artists across programmes at the RCA to create film and video. Over his academic and professional career, he has worked on scripts that have gone on to win awards in the United States and China. 

While he has a wide range of written works, Lars always finds his way back to speculative fiction and autofiction. When he isn’t writing, Lars currently works as an editor for the Journal of Arts Writing by Students (JAWS) and works as a copywriter/editor at a day job that fits rather neatly into David Graeber’s definition of a “Bullshit Job”.

the writer, Lars Stannard, standing inside an office building when he would rather be doing anything else.

Growing up in suburban basements and the fields of rural Minnesota, Lars has experienced firsthand how stark inequalities can be between families within the same city, and witnessed many of his ex-friends become disenfranchised — then radicalised by hateful far-right ideology spread through internet subcultures. He feels it is one of his purposes to counter and combat the spread of this sort of rhetoric, and often attempts to do this through his written fiction.