Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Writer: Elizabeth Hand


Photo by Norman Walters.

What is your go-to pen(cil)? Pigma Micron 05 pen.

Most beautiful word in all the world: Green.

Alter ego: My fictional character, Cass Neary.

What’s for dinner? Chicken with lemons, olives, and fresh herbs.

What’re you reading? John Crowley’s forthcoming novel, Ka.

Who is your most-recent writer crush? Cara Hoffman.

Song lyrics stuck in your head, go: “There ain’t nothing like a friend/Who can tell you you’re just pissing in the wind.” Neil Young, “Ambulance Blues.”

You’re a new addition to the Crayola box. Congratulations. What is your new name? Downtown Twilight.

What are you putting off? Cleaning my basement.

What was the last gift you gave someone? A copy of Anthony DeCurtis’s new Lou Reed biography.

What were you like as a college or graduate student? Up for anything.

Here’s your free ticket. Where are we going? Reykjavik.


Elizabeth Hand is the bestselling author of fourteen genre-spanning novels and five collections of short fiction and essays. Her work has received the World Fantasy Award (four times), Nebula Award (twice), Shirley Jackson Award (three times), International Horror Guild Award (three times), the Mythopoeic Award, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, among other honors, and several of her books have been New York Times and Washington Post Notable Books. Her recent, critically acclaimed novels featuring Cass Neary, “one of literature’s great noir anti-heroes,”[Katherine Dunn]  have been compared to those of Patricia Highsmith. She has written numerous novelizations of films, including Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys, and a popular series of Star Wars books for middle grade children. She is a longtime critic and book reviewer whose work appears regularly in the Los Angeles TimesWashington PostSalon and the Boston Review, among many others, and writes a regular column for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her books and short fiction have been translated into numerous languages and have been optioned for film and television. Hand is on faculty at the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, and has taught at the Yale Writers Conference, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Clarion and Clarion West, and the Odyssey writers’ workshops. She divides her time between the coast of Maine and North London. Visit her website to learn more.


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