Residencies & Exhibitions

Whitstable Biennale: Fan Letters of Love

June, 2016



Alice Butler, Fan Letters of Love: Kathy Acker, designed by Katie Johnston


A commission for the Whitstable Biennale 2016, Fan Letters of Love is an exploration into adolescence, plagiarism and kleptomania in writing, and a performance of the fanatical love of the critic. Inspired by the tiny Hanuman Books, edited by Raymond Foye and Francesco Clemente between 1978-1996, these epistolary fan letters were designed and illustrated by Katie Johnston as a set of handmade miniature chapbooks. Installed within a cluster of shops on Whitstable’s high street, these books were to be devoured, then shoplifted, before the postscript of each book willed the reader to promenade to the next shop and booklet in this loving chain of fantasy correspondence. The love objects addressed were predominantly from the 1980s and 90s, such as the writers Cookie Mueller, Kathy Acker and Dodie Bellamy; but the Victorian kleptomaniac is not forgotten in this story: she was the first fan, the original plagiarist.

Download example booklet