This course is for all levels of writers and readers; the only requirement is a desire to take a deep dive into the unique art of autofiction (autobiographical fiction). The beauty of autofiction is that it can provide you the opportunity to cull directly from your lived experiences, yet it provides the freedom and safety to fictionalize in a way that reads like the truth.
We will read and discuss excerpts from contemporary authors who write within the genre, such as Edouard Louis, Chris Kraus, Ayad Akhtar, Francisco Goldman, Sheila Heti, and others, in addition to weekly craft essays on the genre. There will be an opportunity to submit at least one short excerpt of your writing (can be from a short story or novel-in-progress) to be workshopped during the course. Over the course of our class, we will spend time discussing your work and goals through a bigger-picture lens, ie… your writing practice, publication goals, or a possible story collection or a novel. And most importantly, the goal of this course is to be inspired and to feel supported in your writing. You’ll leave class with a true sense of writing autofiction and at least a handful of polished pages.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- A concrete understanding of the unique art of autofiction
- Inspiring community dialogue and critique of contemporary autofiction authors
- Opportunity to workshop at least one short story or novel excerpt
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Weekly readings: approx 10-15pp of excerpts
Weekly writing: submit approx 1500 words per week in response to generative assignments, even if it’s not your week to workshop; the instructor will provide short written feedback each week. Students will also have the opportunity to read and comment on everyone’s work each week.
Each student will have the opportunity to submit once for workshop and will be expected to read their peers’ work and provide feedback; we will be using Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process as a basis for our workshopping guidelines. Workshop submissions should be no longer than 1500 words.
Week 1: Introductions and Course Expectations
Week 2: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop
Week 3: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop
Week 4: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop
Week 5: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop
Week 6: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop
Week 7: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop
Week 8: Review Craft Essay + Excerpts; Workshop + wrapping up/goal-setting
Frances is the author of the novels, I Don't Blame You (2019) and Salad Days (2021). Some of her shorter work can be found at The Believer Magazine, BOMB Magazine, Longreads, Vol.1 Brooklyn and elsewhere. She teaches writing workshops and also works individually as a counselor and mentor for writers. Frances lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son.
"Frances Badalamenti proves to be a talented and evocative writer. I DON'T BLAME YOU is a powerful, heady, debut novel, gorgeously interweaving the story of grief, acceptance, and love. A must read."
"SALAD DAYS is the gritty, moving portrait of a young woman who completely upends her life trying to figure out who she is and what she wants, set against the gray, grungy background of Portland, Oregon, at a time when the city was also in flux. Badalamenti perfectly captures the alluring and maddening impenetrability of Portland for the East Coast transplant."
"I DON'T BLAME YOU is a raw, irreverent, wrenching exploration of the trauma and joy of being a daughter and a mother."
"Frances Badalementi is the best writing instructor I didn’t know I needed. Workshop was masterfully facilitated and, as a fellow facilitator and instructor, I recognized how Frances deftly and neatly encouraged and pushed us to improve while always making sure we felt encouraged, empowered, and enthused. This class – and several of the relationships formed in it – will have an enduring effect on me as a writer and a person. "
"Frances is an astute reader and editor and offers compassionate yet constructive feedback."
"Frances has been an amazing teacher, reader and editor. She has a super keen eye and is very supportive in her feedback."
"Frances is a fantastic writing instructor—she offers specific, insightful feedback and does so in a way that is incredibly supportive. I appreciated how she prioritized making the workshop a safe and positive environment, and how she encouraged us to submit work each week. The generative nature of her course inspired me to produce more new writing than I have in a very long time!"
"Frances was an excellent, generous and fun workshop facilitator and teacher, offering just the right mix of encouragement, constructive criticism, and reading recommendations. Over the 8-week course, her student-centered workshops were the highlight of my week, giving me the framework and encouragement I needed to complete a first draft of a longform piece."