Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Elizabeth Searle

Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting
Elizabeth Searles Author and Stonecoast MFA Faculty

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, the playwright of TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA-- which has drawn major media coverage and which has been widely performed-- and the co-writer of a feature film which is slated to be produced in 2021.  Elizabeth’s rock opera has been produced in Boston, Chicago, LA and at NYMF in NYC, with an award-winning production in 2020 that starred Broadway’s Andrea McArdle and 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. The feature script that she co-wrote, a drama set in Covid times, is in the works for production 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, Five Points, Michigan Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review and more.  She has new fiction in Solstice in 2021.  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. 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 and Free Speech 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 (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 

Script Adaptation: (2020 Stonecoast workshop on 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 Pop Culture, Celebrities in Disgrace, and has 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 has organized political fundraisers and served on the Executive Board of PEN New England for over a decade.

Recent Publications

Short story, The Drama Room, forthcoming in Solstice literary journal in Winter, 2021

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

We Got Him (a novel): released as an Audiobook, 2018; New Rivers Press/Blunderwoman Productions

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 

Creative Activity

A feature film script Elizabeth co-wrote is in production, scheduled for shooting in 2021

Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera; 2020 full production of show at regional Equity theater TheatreZone; winner of 4 BROADWAY WORLD Regional Theater Awards.

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 revue 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

2021: The 2020 TheatreZone production of Elizabeth’s TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA won 4 BROADWAY WORLD Regional Theater Awards

2019/2020: Awards and recognition in 20 film script festivals and competitions

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

JEFF THEATER AWARDS in Chicago: TONYA & NANCY was a 'Jeff recommended show' which received two Jeff Award nominations and won one Jeff Award

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; TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA at NYMF in NYC was listed the show as one of TOP FIVE at NYMF by Producer’s Pro; PLAYBILL sited it as one of the 'Top Ten Shows to See'; Best of Off Broadway listed it as a Best of Fest.