Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Elisabeth Sheffield

Interview with Elisabeth Sheffield


Fort Da

Helen Keller Really Lived

Chick Lit 2: No Chick Vics (ed)

Elisabeth Sheffield is the author of two novels: Gone (FC2, 2003) and Fort Da: A Report (FC2, 2009). She is also the author of a critical monograph on James Joyce and poststructuralist and feminist theory (Fairleigh Dickinson Press, 1998), and various works of short fiction, which have appeared in literary journals including Pretext, 13th Moon, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast and Gargoyle. Originally from upstate New York, she has taught in both the eastern and western U.S., as well as in between, in North Cyprus, and in Germany, where she was a Fulbright lecturer in 1999-2000. In 2012, she won an NEA Fellowship. In 2014, she was the recipient of another Fulbright, at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Currently, she is the Director of the Creative Writing¬†Program at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with the writer Jeffrey DeShell and their two children.

"For to the degree that 'mother' is a word and a concept, it requires the annihilation of the individual existence of what it names. 'Mother' collapses and destroys the differences between actual mothers, and instead derives its meaning in relation to other words and concepts, such as “father” and “child” and “other.” The term has no secret life beyond language, no pre-linguistic power ..."

—Elisabeth Sheffield from “Genuine Ming or Fabulous Fake?: Deconstructions of Identity and Gender in Marianne Hauser’s The Talking Room”

"Sheffield deftly balances the southern gothic with her mordant wit."


"Among the gifts of confidence and newly opened doors, feminism of the 60s and 70s left us with one terrible burden: the unshakable belief that the patriarchal world was at fault for all our losses and unfulfilled needs.  With abundantly playful, rich and lyrical language, Elisabeth Sheffield takes the politically incorrect risk of exploring this burden and the havoc it can play in a woman’s life.  In her complex story of a search for inheritance and legacy, and an unresolved relationship that struggles on in only one person’s mind, Sheffield challenges the woman-as-victim literary model that has been flown from flagpoles for decades.  Sheffield shows us that women, in fact, are more interesting, more complicated and mysterious, more inspiring and significant, when they are victims mostly of their own human fragility."

—Cris Mazza