Merrick, Elizabeth

views updated

Merrick, Elizabeth

PERSONAL:

Education: Yale University, B.A.; Cornell University, M.F.A.; San Francisco State University, M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Grace Reading Series, founder and director; Grace Book Club, founder; Elizabeth's Workshop, director and writing coach. Also instructor at New York University and Cornell University; Cupcake Reading Series, codirector, 2003-05.

WRITINGS:

Girly (novel), Demimonde Books (Brooklyn, NY), 2005.

(Editor) This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Elizabeth Merrick is the founder of her own school of writing, Elizabeth's Workshop, based in Brooklyn, NY. Her teaching experience in writing also extends to jobs at New York University and Cornell University. Merrick was the codirector for the Cupcake Reading Series and founded the Grace Reading Series, also based in New York. In addition to the Grace Book Club, the Grace Reading Series aims to support and acknowledge women literary writers. Merrick published her first novel, Girly, in 2005. The novel is told from the perspective of seven different narrators, the most central of which is Racinda. Racinda and her sister grow up with drugs, prostitution, and a faltering family network as their grandmother lies comatose and their mother escapes reality through evangelical Christianity and speaking in tongues when she is stressed. The story progresses to Racinda's early twenties when she looks for rapprochement with her family and life.

Writing in the Library Journal, Andrea Kempf was concerned that the novel's "shifting perspectives, stream-of-consciousness style, … and drug-induced nightmares of its protagonist" may be "off-putting" to many readers. A reviewer in Publishers Weekly, however, concluded that Merrick "has crafted a moody, gothic debut, which makes for a brutal, and cathartic, emotional experience." Time Out Chicago contributor Beth Dugan also praised the book, stating: "While Merrick delivers devastatingly sharp and evocative lines … she spins a tale around the Harts that shows their faults, while swaddling them in her honest, judgeless prose."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2005, review of Girly, p. 1251.

Library Journal, February 15, 2006, Andrea Kempf, review of Girly, p. 108.

Publishers Weekly, November 21, 2005, review of Girly, p. 30.

Small Spiral Notebook, spring, 2006, review of Girly.

Time Out Chicago, December 1, 2005, Beth Dugan, review of Girly.

ONLINE

Elizabeth Merrick Home Page,http://www.elizabethmerrick.com (July 10, 2006), author biography.

Elizabeth's Workshops,http://elizabethsworkshops.com (July 10, 2006), author profile.