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Write the Self: the study and practice of writing from personal experience

January 25 - March 14, 2024, Thursdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (eight sessions)


This course is for all levels of writers and readers. We will read and discuss excerpts from contemporary authors who write the self (or write from the basis of personal experience) such as Annie Erneaux,Carmen Maria Machado, Kate Briggs, Emmanuel Carrere, Zadie Smith, Rachel Cusk, Hilton Als, Melissa Febos and others, in addition to weekly craft essays on various genres (memoir, personal essay, autofiction).

There will be an opportunity to submit either one or two short excerpts of your writing (can be from a short story or novel-in-progress) to be workshopped during the class.

This course is generative, so participants should plan to write at least 1500 words per week. Most importantly, the goal of this course is to be inspired and to feel supported in your writing.

Class assignments:

Frances will provide two short (10-15pp) readings per week, excerpted from novels, memoirs and essay collections, to be discussed during the first part of class

Craft essays: two craft essays, mostly in relation to the authors and genres discussed for the week, will be provided for discussion during the first part of class

We will workshop two writers’ work per week; participants should plan to submit 1500 words per week even if you are not being workshopped

Class outcomes:

• exposure to contemporary writers who write the self, namely personal essay, memoir and autofiction
• inspiring community dialogue and critique of contemporary authors who write the self
• opportunity to workshop 1-2 stories or novel excerpts
• looking at your work as a bigger picture plan/project (book, story collection)
• writing practice/planning: during the first class and last class, we will discuss overall goals for your work, whether you want to complete a short story or a personal essay, plan a bigger project like a story collection, essay collection, memoir or novel/novella, or to simply establish a more consistent writing practice

Access Program
We want our writing classes and Delves to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers writing class and Delve tuitions at a reduced rate.Most writing classes have at least one access spot available.

Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.

Class cancellation policy:

If you register for a class and need to cancel before the class begins, here’s a link to our class cancellation policy.


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Frances Badalamenti

Frances is the author of the novels, I Don't Blame You, published in 2019 and Salad Days,  published in 2021. Some of her shorter work can be found at The New Yorker, The Believer Magazine, BOMB Magazine, Longreads and elsewhere. She teaches writing workshops and also works individually as a mentor for writers. Frances lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. 
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