Elizabeth Farren

Elizabeth Farren

2022 Lecturer in Creative Writing

[email protected]

B.A., Columbia University, 2002
M.F.A., Bennington College, Vermont, 2007

Elizabeth Farren was born and raised in New York City, and has been a resident in Rome, Italy for almost two decades. She received her BA in English from Columbia University, and her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. At Bennington, she worked with Amy Hempel and Christine Schutt. Her work has been published in 7 Stories from Rome {Anthology}, Prick of a Spindle, The 13th Warrior Review, Verso, and The Columbia Review. She was chosen by Mary Gaitskill as a finalist for the Summer Literary Seminars, and her novel, Don’t Tell Them You’re American was a finalist in the Evening House Press Grassic Short Novel Prize.

Elizabeth began teaching at John Cabot in January of 2022. Prior to John Cabot, she taught literature, composition, and creative writing at Keiser University, where she also headed their online writing lab. She is deeply passionate about reading, music, art, imagination, human rights, feminism, equal justice, and integrity.


Elizabeth Farren is interested the creation of well structured, image focused prose. She believes, as William Carlos Williams’ prescribed almost one hundred years ago, “there are no ideas but in things.” If our reader can see our ideas, we can move and change them. She admires writing that values observations of the particular, and she appreciates the music of language. She fervently believes that the written word has the power to transform us into more empathic and open-minded humans.

At present, she is interested in English language modern and contemporary writing, and she particularly enjoys reading and studying the work of writers such as Denis Johnson, Patricia Lockwood, Mohsin Hamid, Junot Diaz, Sharon Olds, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Lydia Davis, Andre Aciman, Emma Donoghue, and many others.


Elizabeth is teaching a Mixed Genre Creative Writing Workshop and How to Read Like A Writer. In both courses, she pushes her students to explore the possibilities of intricate craft and imaginative fancy. In How to Read Like A Writer, she guides students through careful dissection of masterful sentences and paragraphs. Through observation of the form and execution of stories and chapters, students achieve a deeper understanding of the writer’s task. In her Mixed Genre Workshop, she teaches the fundamentals of short story construction, poetry construction, and nonfiction essay writing. She helps her students develop technique through close reading and critique, and she dedicates time and focus to the construction of voice, character, and setting. Elizabeth enjoys helping her students dig deep within to create meaningful work that rings true; so often our best writing derives from our secrets.