Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Elizabeth Searle

Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting, Writing for Social Change

Office Location

Stonecoast MFA Office: 98 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04103


Stonecoast MFA Office: 207-780-4423

Academic Degrees

  • BA, Oberlin College
  • MFA, in Creative Writing, Brown University


Elizabeth Searle is a fiction writer and scriptwriter. She is the author of five books of fiction and the playwright of TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA, which has drawn major media coverage and which has been produced in Boston, Chicago, LA and at NYMF in NYC. with a CD out from Broadway Records. Elizabeth’s novel A FOUR-SIDED BED is in development as a feature film; Elizabeth’s script for it has won multiple 2020/2019 awards. An award-winning short film based on her novel, FOUR-SIDED, screened in 2019 at festivals in Cannes, Shanghai, Boston and elsewhere. Elizabeth’s novella CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE was also produced as a short film and screened at multiple festivals. A feature script she co-wrote, I’LL SHOW YOU MINE, is in development with an Independent film company, aiming for filming in 2021.

Elizabeth’s novel WE GOT HIM was a finalist for the Midwest Book Award and was released as an AudioBook in 2018. Elizabeth’s previous books include her novel GIRL HELD IN HOME, selected for the New Rivers Press American Fiction series, as well as CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE, a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize; A FOUR-SIDED BED (nominated for an American Library Association Book Award and an Editor’s Choice at Booklist, American Online, Amazon and more) and MY BODY TO YOU, a story collection that won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize (James Salter, judge). Elizabeth has co-edited two pop culture anthologies: SOAP OPERA CONFIDENTIAL, and IDOL TALK, a teen idol anthology that premiered as a stage show in 2019. Elizabeth’s work has appeared in over a dozen anthologies including DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME (Simon & Schuster) and KNITTING YARNS (Norton). 

Over thirty of her short stories have been published in magazines such as Ploughshares, AGNI, Redbook, New England Review, Massachusetts Review, Solstice, Kenyon Review and more. Elizabeth’s additional theater works include her chamber opera, TONYA & NANCY: THE OPERA produced in Boston, Minneapolis and Houston and her one-act play STOLEN GIRL SONG, produced most recently ‘off off Broadway’ at the Act One One Act Play Festival, 2019. Elizabeth's theater works have been featured in stories on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, The New York Times, CBS, CNN, NPR, the AP and more. Elizabeth served for over a decade on the Executive Board of PEN/New England, working on Children’s Literacy issues.  She has taught at Stonecoast MFA since the program’s inception.

Areas of Expertise

Fiction, Theater (including plays, musicals, opera, Rock Opera) and Film Scripts

Areas of Scholarship

Contemporary Women’s Writings (2017 AWP Presentation: Written on a (Woman’s) Body) (Elizabeth’s work has appeared in feminist anthologies including- Men Undressed: Women Writers on Male Sexuality- Dzank Books)

Theater and Film Writing ((2020; teaching forthcoming class in playwriting at Charlotte Women Writers in Feb 2020; Elizabeth has led seminars on theater writing at Stonecoast and elsewhere; her plays have been widely produced; three short films based on her work were produced and screened; two feature scripts are in development)

Script Adaptation ; AWP Presentation: ADAPTATION IN THREE ACTS on adapting books for stage and film)

Popular Culture in Writing (Stonecoast Presentation: Pop Goes the Writer) Elizabeth has written a blog on popular culture: Celebrities in Disgrace; she co-edited two anthologies on Pop Culture subjects (soap operas and teen idols)

Writing for Social Justice: Elizabeth was one of 6 founding members of Writers Against Racial Injustice which raised over 60K for The Equal Justice Initiative in 2020; the group was featured in write-ups in the Boston Globe, Publisher’s Weekly and more.  Elizabeth served on the Executive Board of PEN New England for over a decade.

Recent Publications

Feature article on ‘Soundstage Musicals’ published in Imagine Magazine; March, 2020; essay To the Covid19 Class of 2020 forthcoming in new online magazine ’NOW’

We Got Him (a novel): released as an Audiobook, 2018; New Rivers Press/Blunderwoman Productions; Elizabeth has five published books of fiction and has appeared in over a dozen anthologies 

Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives; Anthology co-edited by Elizabeth and Tamra Wilson; featuring an essay (“Bogie and the Boys”) by Elizabeth; published in 2018 by McFarland Books

Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera, Live in Concert at 54Below— CD produced in 2018 by Broadway Records

Soap Opera Confidential: Writers and Soap Insiders on Why We'll Tune In Tomorrow As the World Turns Restlessly by the Guiding Light of Our LivesIdol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives 2017; Anthology co-edited by Elizabeth and Suzanne Strempek Shea; featuring an essay (“Sister Soaps”) by Elizabeth; published in 2017 by McFarland Books



Recent STONECOAST Presentations: Ethan Frome: A Fireside Discussion Stage to Page seminar about One Act Plays New Media seminar covering Blogging and online journalism The Secret History: Unlocking the Secrets of the Literary Mystery

AWP Presentations: 2017: Elizabeth had two events accepted at the AWP 2017 conference: ADAPTATION IN THREE ACTS on adapting theater and film pieces from fiction WRITTEN ON A (WOMAN'S) BODY on women’s fiction relating to their physical bodies

Muse & the Marketplace Presentation (Boston conference; 2016) Safety & Violence: a discussion on contemporary literature and themes such as domestic assault and terrorism

2017 Arlington Community Education Second Acts- a seminar for women seeking to re-start or re-invent their careers

RECENT 2018/2017 READINGS include: Rockland Library in MA (May, 2018); Duxbury Library in MA (Feb 2018); Poetry Barn Reading Series in Woodstock, NY (August, 2017); AWP 2017 at two accepted events at Washington DC Conference; 2017 Soap Opera Confidential readings at Newtonville Books and Broadside Books in MA; 2017 WE GOT HIM readings at Newtonville Books; Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA; Arlington Salon Series in MA; future readings include KGB in NYC in August, 2018


Creative Activity


A feature film script Elizabeth co-wrote, I’ll Show You Mine, has been optioned and is in development with a longstanding independent film company, working toward shooting in 2021

Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera; full production of show starring Broadway’s Andrea McArdle at regional Equity theater TheatreZone, running in February, 2020.

Elizabeth’s Feature Film script A Four-Sided Bed won recognition in twenty 2019/2020 awards competitions including QuarterFinalist in the 2020 Academy Nicholl Fellowships (run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/the Oscars); and prizes from Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Awards, Hollywood Boulevard Film Awards, International Independent Film Awards and more. 

Short film, Four-Sided, based on Elizabeth’s novel, screened at 2019/2020 festivals in Cannes, Boston, Pittsburgh, Shanghai and elsewhere, winning multiple awards.

Elizabeth became a member of ASCAP, for songwriting professionals

Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera, Concert event at Lucille Lortel Theater, Off Broadway in NYC; executive produced by Tony-winner Jim Kierstead; Fundraiser for Abingdon Theater Company in NYC; 2019

A Four-Sided Bed, film script; full staged reading of Elizabeth’s script produced at ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto; July, 2019

Sister Kin, a short film of a single script scene by Elizabeth was produced by LGBT Toronto Film Festival as a ‘screenplay short’ screened at LGBT Toronto in November, 2019

Idol Talk: A Magical Memory Tour of Teen Idols, a theatrical event based on the book Idol Talk, co-edited by Elizabeth and Tamra Wilson, premiered with Exit Dance Company at the Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts in Newburyport, MA in May, 2019.

Stolen Girl Song, a One Act Play; produced ‘off off Broadway’ at The Secret Theater in Long Island City in NY at the Act One One Act Festival; January, 2019.

Awards and Recognition

2019/2020: Film script awards

2018: Elizabeth became a member of ASCAP, for songwriting professionals

2018: Elizabeth and Abigail Al Doory Cross's opera, TONYA & NANCY: THE OPERA selected as a Best of Classical pick by the Minneapolis Star Tribune

2017: Elizabeth's novel WE GOT HIM was one of three finalists for the Midwest Book Award

2017: Elizabeth's novel WE GOT HIM was listed on the Small Press Distribution Center Bestseller List for Jan/Feb 2017.

2016/2017: JEFF THEATER AWARDS for 2016/2017: TONYA & NANCY was a 'Jeff recommended show' which received two Jeff Award nominations and won one Jeff Award

2016: TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA named one of TOP FIVE MUSICALS OF 2016 by New City Stages in Chicago

2015: TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA (Book, Lyrics and Concept by Elizabeth) selected as an official Full Production show at the New York Musical Theater Festival.

2015: TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA at NYMF in NYC: Ken Davenport's Producer's Perspective blog listed the show as one of TOP FIVE at NYMF and PLAYBILL sited it as one of the 'Top Ten Shows to See'.  Broadway World spotlighted it as a PhotoFlash feature; Best of Off Broadway listed it as a Best of Fest.  

2014: Elizabeth selected as a featured author at the WriteBoston gala with guest of honor Mayor Tom Menino •

EARLIER HONORS and AWARDS include: Winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize (judge, James Salter); Winner of the Lawrence Foundation Prize for Fiction; finalist for an ALA award and for the Paterson Fiction Prize. A Four-Sided Bed was an Editor’s Choice by Library Journal, America Online and amazon, com; Elizabeth's screenplay for A Four-Sided Bed won prize in the 22nd annual Woods Hole International Film Festival and American International Film Festival; Elizabeth won Boston’s 2010 Literary Death Match