Fiction to Frighten: Short Stories and the Intimate Devastation of Climate Change

Jane Bonfiglio


My capstone explored storytelling and narratives we construct as a way of explaining and discussing the implications fo climate change. To that end, I have compiled a creative portfolio of three prose fiction short stories and three accompanying analytical essays. I focus specifically on individual, intimate relationships, and the effects of climate change on human lives and personal connections. I also considered how my pieces interact with, differ from, and add to the growing list of “climate change fiction,” including The Great Derangement, by Amitav Ghosh; The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace Wells; Love in the Anthropocene, by Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam; Learning to Die in the Anthropocene, by Roy Scranton; and the essay "Hauntings in the Anthropocene," by Jeff VanderMeer. My goal was to communicate to my readers how climate change will inevitably impact every single person on earth, and how it will do so more ways than are generally discussed by scientific and journalistic writing.

My writings have been published and won several awards including:

  • “What We Had” was accepted into Re:Visions, Notre Dame’s undergraduate creative journal.
  • “What We Had” was accepted into Cultivating Resilience: A Response to Climate Change Volume 1, a Michiana Undergrad Sustainability-Focused Anthology from the Indiana University South Bend Publishing Center and the Center for the Sustainable Future.
  • “What We Had” won the Robinson Merit Award in Literature from the National Society of Arts and Letters, Bloomington Chapter,​Competition and Showcase of the Arts
  • My capstone project was the subject of an article written by Amorette Hernandez, available on the Minor in Sustainability website.​​​​​​​