The Creative Writing Interviews: Elizabeth Reeder

The Creative Writing Interviews form a series of interviews with contributors to our Creative Writing Studies list. Find out about their work and approach towards writing.

Frances Haynes writes: Elizabeth Reeder, although originally from Chicago, lives in Scotland and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.  Her writing includes fiction, lyrical essays/poems/crossover pieces, travel writing, writing for radio – and her contribution to our forthcoming publication, Teaching Creative Writing. You can find out more about her at

Elizabeth, what do you write?

I write fiction, both long and short and for radio, and also write crossover pieces that exist between genres (lyrical essays, for example). I have a real fondness for doing abridgements for BBC Radio 4 — you’re basically getting paid to do a really close reading of great books and figure out how they’re put together.

Whom do you write for?

I have to be honest and say I write for myself, to put down these phrases and characters and stories I hear and see. The process of writing is a bit of a romance for me, a heated one too, with frustrations and passions and ennui. So I engage in writing, in the process, for me because it’s basically how I think about and navigate the world. I re-write and edit for the readers. I suppose I believe that if I am compelled by a story, other people will be too.

What achievement are you most proud of as a writer?

Currently, I’m thrilled that my first novel, Ramshackle, is being published in April by a brilliant new indie press, Freight Books (a sister project to Gutter Magazine). I’ve also had quite a strong nibble on my next novel and if that comes through, I won’t quite be able to contain how chuffed I am. As a writer, I am actually a bit addicted to the process of writing, and when a new story or idea comes to me strongly and I have the wherewithal and discipline to make it into a gem, that is always really satisfying. Enjoying what you’re doing is crucial to being a writer, success and failure are equal partners in most writers’ careers and you have to have an internal balance, a sense of what you’re doing and why, to stay committed through all that might come your way.

What involvement do you have / have you had with creative writing as a university/college subject/discipline?

I have been teaching creative writing for almost as long as I’ve been writing. Initially I  taught in communities, in extension learning, and currently I teach on the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Glasgow. For me, teaching and writing go hand in hand.

What is your ambition as a writer?

To receive recognition and respect for doing the writing I love and am challenged by.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Teaching creative writing: the interview series | Creative Writing Studies

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