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How to Write a Tragicomic Memoir Zoom Seminar with Elissa Bassist, Saturday, March 30th, 2024
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How to Write a Tragicomic Memoir Zoom Seminar with Elissa Bassist, Saturday, March 30th, 2024

Unit price per

Saturday, March 30th, 2024

Live Seminar via Zoom from 2:00PM - 5:00PM EST

Now Enrolling!

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Elissa Bassist is the editor of the “Funny Women” column on The Rumpus and the author of Hysterical, a semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. As a founding contributor to The Rumpus, Elissa has written cultural and personal criticism since the website launched in 2009. Her next book, a comedy writing craft book, is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing. Elissa teaches humor writing at The New School and elsewhere, and she is probably her therapist’s favorite.

Get to know Elissa in our Meet the Teaching Artist series.

Writing a full-length book about yourself is a thrilling, empowering, ideal experience; it’s also horrifying, humbling, and impossible.

In this seminar, I'll share how I did it and how you can, too, from recyclable drafts to book proposal to publication.
I'll reveal my insights, secrets, and instructions on "rule of three."

I'll show off my notebooks and rejections. I'll gossip about my research and revision strategies. I'll weigh the pros and cons of panic attacks and discuss how to keep going during the “I quit” episodes of a years’ long process.

Preparation and workload: Read (and love) Hysterical (if you want). There are also tons of handouts (to be referenced during classes) and brainstorming and writing exercises (to be done in class) to bring out what you have to offer the world that it’s missing.

  • Learn how to get total strangers interested in reading your life story.
  • In-class brainstorming to develop your personal narrative and universal themes.
  • Productivity and preservation hacks.
  • Novella-length handouts on what every tragicomic memoir needs
  • You want to hone your ability to write a tragicomic comedy (about your life).
  • You're an aspiring memoirist or comedy writer.
  • You want to infuse humor into your writing, emails, dating profiles, etc.
  • You want to expand your tools as an artist.


"I loved this class. Elissa was an extremely generous teacher/storyteller. I think listening to her talk about her experience/struggles to get words on the page was the most valuable part. I was amazed with Elissa’s ability to focus and maintain passion and energy for 3 straight hours. I was completely engaged in her personal writing journey and was satisfied with spending 3 hours listening to her speak." -former student

"This was a fun class! I found Elissa's personal takes and experiences in both the process and in finding a home for her writing most valuable. The process seems much more manageable to me now, and I would take another class with Elissa." -former student

"I heard about via Hippocampus Magazine. I'm so happy I found Elissa's class, which was filled with many small insights that added up to a lot. I left the class feeling inspired. Thank you." -former student

"Elissa's seminar exceeded my expectations! She provided real-world solutions for rejection and included so many thought-provoking prompts. This class was so rich with information it could have easily been a 6-week course."-former student

"This class was SO, SO GOOD!!!! By far, my favorite ever of the many many I have taken with Catapult, Grubstreet, Porch, CFF, and Big compliments! Thank you!!! Learned a lot and was furiously taking down notes; what marvelous advice and stories you have. Can't wait to read HYSTERICAL and the books that will come after that." -former student


You can pay for the course in full or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Class is on Saturday, March 30th, 2024, via Zoom from 2:00PM EST - 5:00PM EST 

If you have questions, please use the Chat Button or contact us via email HERE.