“Ramshackle deserves a place in the bestseller charts: a novel that deals with the primal fear of abandonment and portrays it through a vividly realised 15-year-old girl we can’t help but identify with.” April 22nd 2012, Alastair Abbott, The Herald.
‘Original, moving and insightful…A beautiful book’ – Anne Donovan
‘Ramshackle is knowing, wry and affectionate, using packed and punchy sentences which illuminate and delight’ Alan Warner
‘Elizabeth Reeder’s Ramshackle has the narrative drive of a mystery and the sharpness of a poem. The fear of abandonment is one of the most powerful human emotions, and Reeder sustains and explores it brilliantly.’ Elaine Feinstein
When Rachel Roanoke sees Hal Fremont across a diner counter, she claims him as her own, and they start to build their rambunctious brood. Against their parents’ ill-starred fairytale romance, the Fremont children fight for their territory within the shifting, bitter bonds of family. In this tale of prejudice, identity and desire, Fremont becomes a map of survival.
“Fremont is a masterful, shattering examination of that special brand of madness with which only your family can infect you. At times it simmers like Jeffrey Eugenides’s Virgin Suicides; sometimes, the text feels like a lyrical, magical spell, in the fashion of Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles. Read it slowly. It is a story to be savoured, cried over, and celebrated.” Fictavia
Being within intense times of illness and death is an experience many of us share, and these essays give entrance to a time of living grief when we are completely, almost obsessively within the smaller world of illness, family and crisis, and yet, also, functioning as individuals, friends, and lovers in the wider world.
Initially, I thought this collection would be about my father, but when my mom received her terminal diagnosis, life itself made it clear that there were three narratives here: my dad’s, my mother’s, and my own. Once I’d completed the draft manuscript, I worked with a visual artist, Amanda Thomson, on the design, images and formatting. This creative, critical and editorial collaboration impacted the essays themselves, how they can be read and, and in this final version, the collection exists in a lyric and visual tension.
one year is taken from the manuscript of my full collection of hybrid/lyric essays, direction is the moment you choose, and this chapbook covers roughly a year of living in these places between life and death. Here essay is elegy: part poetry; part inevitable narrative.
The Pressing Issue of the Essay in the UK, An Essay Press Listening Tour I’m in conversation with Jacques Testard (Fitzcarraldo Editions), Max Porter (Faber/Faber & Granta) and Carol Mavor (Manchester University) to be published in Autumn 2016/Early 2017.
Those We Buried
(news of publication coming soon...)
In December 2012, when twelve people die in a catastrophic fire that destroys Chicago’s Walker Commons, a city used to fire is rocked by its ferocity. It’s a hot, fast, nearly impossible burn and when chief Fire Investigator Rebecca Krostat is unable to find its cause, she loses her job. A year later, Rebecca lies dying in a borrowed house surrounded by folders, notebooks and photographs of this fire. When her estranged sister, Hayley, arrives and finds Rebecca falling in and out of consciousness, she turns to see if she can solve the mystery that seems to have ruined her sister’s life.
Rooted in the failed investigation of an unknowable fire, the stories of the individuals involved in and affected by the fire are often told by the people around them - as we might circle a fire so as not to get burned. These interwoven narratives reveal how individuals protect and fail to protect those they love and expose how actions taken have repercussions both intended and unforeseen.
Writing, Teaching, Living (academic bio) - excerpted
I teach on and co-convene Creative Writing at University of Glasgow, which includes our MLitt, MFA and DFA courses of writing and study. As a writer, teacher and researcher (including practice as research) I'm interested in: how we become and remain creative as makers; writing fiction and crossover pieces; ambiguity, failure and getting lost; excellence in teaching, feedback and mentoring of writers; reading like a writer; close crafting and editing; and I've become particularly interested in the essay form (from narrative to lyric (and lyrical) to literary to radical).
I am a creative writer who teaches at University and my academic career references my creative work and events etc..
2015 MacDowell Artists Colony Fellow, with a residency April and May 2015
2014 PAL Labs Residential Residency, Cove Park, September 2014
2014 Invited Artist, Animating the Archive, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, July (supported by Ontario Arts Council, Carnegie Trust, & University of Glasgow)
2013 Residency at An Tobar, Mull, December linked to the production of a response to the Zembla exhibition, and including a public reading and talk on hybrid and experimental writing.
Performances/Readings/Events (excerpted, recent)
I am a regular contributor to numerous book festivals as an author and as a chair. These have included: Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aye Write (Glasgow), Ullapool Book Festival, Shetland Book Festival, Imprint Book Festival, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and readings for writing and book groups that are too numerous to list. I regularly accept invitations to run workshops for reading and writing groups.
ACADEMIC Invited Seminars/Workshops / Lectures
Ongoing (member since May 2015) From 15 October 2016, Chair of Scottish PEN’s Women’s Committee. Responsible for organising and running PEN’s International Women’s Day event, in collaboration with IASH at the University of Edinburgh, this includes further support for the Dangerous Women’s Project, as well as running other events and campaigns.
September 2016 Tutor, Fiction Retreat, Moniack Mhor, with Ian Stephen and Andrew O’Hagan as Guest Writer
July 2016 Tutor, Facilitator, Young Writer’s Writing Course, Moniack Mhor, Invernesshire with Kevin MacNeill and AL Kennedy as Guest Writer
May 2016 Scottish Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities Summer School, invited session on the Arts of Failure, with Chris Fremantle, 23 June 2016
March 2016 Guest Editor for Scottish PEN’s magazine PENning,
February 2016 Invited facilitator, ‘Essay, Hybridity and the Workshop’. A Day long seminar on close reading and writing of experimental and cross-discipline essaying for Workshop on essaying for "Knowing From the Inside - Art, Anthropology, Architecture and Design" Research Group at University of Aberdeen
Invited facilitator, ‘Workshop on Giving and Receiving Feedback to Ceramicists’, for Applied Arts Scotland, a national organisation based in Glasgow
November 2015 "All in A Fankle: Workshopping Exuberant Failure". Part of the Being Human Festival, funded by AHRC and the British Council. In collaboration with Rachel McCrum, we ran three days of workshops on creative, exuberant failure with fifteen practitioners across art forms. These culminated in a sold-out performance at the CCA in Glasgow. Comments included: 'Incredible testament, each and every one.' 'Mesmerizing poignant funny' 'Deliciously human and full of colour'
September 2015 ‘The Uncertainty Paradox: Failure, Risk and an Interrogative Process of Coming to Know’ Workshop at Making Research | Research Making, ADAPT-r conference, Aarhus School of Arhitecture, Aarhus, Denmark
June 2015 Invited facilitator, Seminar and workshop for ARENA (AHRC), a collaborative residential weekend (Royal Holloway and University of Brighton) exploring situating the self in research, writing for and reaching multiple communities of readers and researchers.
May 2015 Keynote Speech: And I Love Her for That: Exuberance and Failure and Being Human as We Make”, for the postgraduate conference on Method and Madness at University of Glasgow
February 2015 Tutor, Fiction Writing Course, Moniack Mhor, Invernesshire with Kapka Kassabova
February 2015 Invited facilitator, workshop on the essay at Gray’s School of Art / Robert Gordon University to art, design and engineer students, with outside artists/practitioners invited along.
Academic Funding (recent)
2016/17 Scottish Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Performance and Writing – (Co-investigator). Facilitator for two days of workshop organized with Carl Lavery, Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow, Maria Fusco, University of Edinburgh Edinburgh College of Art & Ross Birrell, GSA [amount]
2016 SGSAH Art Writing – Co-Investigator. Four days of workshopping with colleagues from ECA (Neil Mullholland), GSA (Laura Edbrook) and Strathclyde (David Kinloch) [amount]
“All in A Fankle: A Workshopping of Exuberant Failure”, part of the Being Human Festival funding by AHRC and the British Council, November 2015
Animating the Archive, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, July (supported by Ontario Arts Council, Carnegie Trust and GU), which led to robust collaborations, an exhibition and exhibition catalogue.
Sited +.Voices and Languages Study Funded by Creative Scotland, I was brought on as an independent adviser, because of my work with giving and receiving feedback and my reputation for working across artforms effectively. I wrote the Voices Study part of the Sited + report that was informed by a series of workshops held across Scotland makers of Sited Work and also a symposium. The final report goes to Creative Scotland and other key bodies and will impact the policy and funding around Sited+ working in Scotland.
‘Everyday Wintergreen’, podcast as part of Glasgow Women’s Library 21 Revolutions project, also includes publication, performances and exhibition, 2012
‘Attendance’ a story commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and broadcast on Thursday the 6th of August 2009; rebroadcast June 2011, published Kenyon Review online Summer 2010, Gutter 03, September 2010ISBN:978-0-9544024-9-5
‘Standing Still, Running’ a five-part BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour Serial, Broadcast July 2006; rebroadcast May 2011
‘What is Chosen’, a story commissioned by the BBC, broadcast on Radio 4, in May 2005.
Kent Haruf’s final novel, Our Souls at Night, for BBC Radio 4 (commissioned Jan 2016; broadcast tbc)
Jonathon Lethem’s Dissident Gardens for BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, January 2014. Pick of the Week.
The Real Jane Austen for BBC Radio 4 Books at Bedtime, broadcast 14th-18th January 2013. Selected for BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Week, 20th Jan 2013
Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx for BBC Radio 4, broadcast March 2011
Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler for BBC Radio 4 (Book of the Week); broadcast in Nov 2009
Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Broadcast week of the 14th of August 2006. BBC’s ‘Pick of the Week’