What people are saying about Pretty Baby
“Pretty Baby is a muscular, canny memoir about labor and power and gender; it shimmers with rage and insight and I couldn’t put it down. What a fucking gorgeous book.” —Carmen Maria Machado
“Chris Belcher’s Pretty Baby reminds me why I fell in love with memoirs in the first place.” —Saeed Jones
“Count me among Chris Belcher’s forever fans. Pretty Baby… had my heart from page one.” —Melissa Febos
“Absolutely not to be missed.” —Vogue
Lambda Literary Award 2023
Finalist, Lesbian Memoir/Biography
Author | Book Coach | Story Consultant
Ways to Work With Me
Hi, I’m Chris.
I was born and raised in rural West Virginia. Very rural. Like, no stoplights rural. Like, you could see a McDonald’s off in the distance, but the Ohio River stood between me and a Big Mac. The bridge to get across was a twenty-minute drive. I realized I was gay in that tiny town with no McDonald’s, and that was a journey. I wrote about it in my debut memoir, Pretty Baby.
We’ve all got stories to tell about the people we’ve been, and the people we want to become. Because I want to help people tell their own stories, I became a professor and a writing coach. I teach Gender and Sexuality Studies and in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California, where I completed my PhD in 2016.
In my classrooms, I focus on empowering writers—particularly those from marginalized communities—to join me in valuing ourselves as sites of knowledge. Over a decade teaching, my students have consistently turned in work that challenges the genre conventions of the forms we study. Conventions are established by those who—unlike many of these students—benefit from the systems of power that we wish to critique on the page. I encourage all writers to look for ways that their own experiences of storytelling and narrative arc, for instance, might come into conflict with received lessons of literary craft, and to write into those conflicts as the places where innovation is possible.
In addition to being an author and a teacher, I’ve also worked as an authenticity consultant, a barista, a phone sex operator, and an editor. I edited the acclaimed anthology We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival. I’m most proud of that one.
If you’d like to talk about a story you’re telling, be it film/tv or memoir of your own, reach out to discuss my consultation rates. I’m available to discuss authenticity in the realms of sex work, BDSM, and LGBTQ communities.
I live in Los Angeles.