Putting Pain on the Page:

Chronic Illness and Writing

NOTE: This particular class focuses on physical illness and not mental illness. While we will talk about the mental effects of physical illness, mental illness will not be the focus of this class’s material.  

This class is for any writer, (or want-to-be writer!), who struggles/has struggled with a chronic physical illness, ailment, condition, or pain. Whether you’re the one fighting the battle, or supporting someone through it, this class will help you verbalize and write about your experiences.


We’ll talk through topics like:

  • Writing as therapy

  • Pain as a form of community

  • Finding illumination within devastation

  • The vulnerability and intimacy of physical trauma

  • How specificity gives universality to suffering

  • Finding language to express something that can often feel unexplainable

  • Writing within the pain

  • Embracing the uncomfortable

  • The market for this type of subject material


In addition to class discussion, we’ll explore various texts to guide our writing practice. These will include “how-to” references and creative work. Be prepared to discuss the readings. 


Course taught by Michelle Donfrio, (who has been diagnoses with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease). 


Thursdays :: 6:00 - 7:30 :: April 18th-May 16th


5 sessions :: $ 75

Course taught by Michelle Donfrio.

To register for the Pain on the Page

please email or call us

About this teaching artist:

Michelle Donfrio has her Masters in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a BA in English Writing. Her writing experience is varied; she has worked as a freelance journalist, television writing intern, literary journal editor, and as a guest blogger. She currently works as a Communications Specialist for a grocery retailer. Her creative writing has been published in literary journals such as Nonbinary Review and Poydras Review. When she's not writing, she is attempting a yoga pose.

The Republic of Letters NFP

RoL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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Geneva, Illinois 60134