Elizabeth Arthur

Creative Nonfiction Writer, Fiction Writer

Author's Bio

Elizabeth Arthur was born in New York City to an Irish-American father who wrote mysteries and fantasies and a Hungarian-American mother who wrote poetry and novels. She attended the University of Michigan with the intention of majoring in philosophy, but after two years dropped out of college and became an instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming, instead. She met her first husband at NOLS and became a writer only after the two of them had emigrated to Canada, bought a tiny wilderness island in a lake in northern British Columbia, and built a house on it. Her first book, Island Sojourn, was a memoir published in 1980, and in the novels and second memoir that followed she has consistently focused her attention on literal or metamorphic islands.

Publications & Prizes

Creative Nonfiction

Looking For The Klondike Stone (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993)
Island Sojourn (Harper & Row, 1980)


Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry 1986-1988 (Monitor Book Company, 1988)
Bring Deeps (Bloomsbury U.K., 2003)
Antarctic Navigation (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)
Binding Spell (Doubleday, 1988)
Bad Guys (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986)
Beyond the Mountain (Harper & Row, 1983)
Journals: ,
Prizes won: 

William Sloane Fellowship in Prose, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Middlebury, VT. 1980; Writing Fellowship, the Ossabaw Island Project, Savannah, GA, 1981; Grant-in-Aid, the Vermont Council on the Arts, Montpelier, VT, 1981-1982; Fellowship in Prose,  the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.,1982-1983; Master Artist Fellowship, the Indiana Arts Commission, Indianapolis, IN, 1988; Fellowship in Fiction,  the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C., 1989-1990; Antarctic Artists and Writers Operational Support Grant, the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1990.  In 1995 Antarctic Navigation was chosen by the New York Times as a Notable Book, received a Critics Choice Award from the San Francisco Review of Books and Today's First Edition and was chosen as a Best Book of 1995 by A Common Reader. In 1996 it received the Ohioana Book Award For Fiction from the Oioana Library Association.

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
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Born in: 
New York, NY
New York
Raised in: 
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Last update: Aug 27, 2018