This Goodly Land

Elizabeth Dewberry (September 7, 1962–present)

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Biographical Information

Elizabeth Dewberry was born and grew up in Birmingham, Ala. Although her family was religiously devout, and she attended a private church-run school, she was allowed to read widely. Dewberry graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1983 with a BS in English. After several years of graduate study at the University of Alabama, she transferred to Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where she earned her PhD in American literature in 1989. Dewberry began writing her first novel during her graduate studies at Emory. Many Things Have Happened Since He Died was published in 1990. She was an adjunct lecturer at Samford University in Birmingham from 1991 to 1992 and an assistant professor of English at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, from 1992 to 1994.

While Dewberry was at Ohio State, she published her second novel and had her first novel, Many Things Have Happened Since He Died, adapted for the stage. In 1995, she married fellow writer Robert Olen Butler and moved to Butler’s home in Lake Charles, La. Dewberry began writing plays in the mid-1990s, several of which were produced at the Humana Festival of New Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky. One, Flesh and Blood, was published in Humana Festival ’96: The Complete Plays. In 2000, Dewberry moved to the Tallahassee, Fla., area. She was Playwright-in-Residence at Florida State University in the early 2000s. Dewberry and Butler were divorced in 2007. Although she no longer teaches, Dewberry continues to write novels and plays.

Interests and Themes

Elizabeth Dewberry’s novels and plays feature women who must create identities for themselves, apart from their family and religious ties, and who face dangers both physical and emotional. Her first two novels are set in Birmingham.

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Last updated on May 30, 2008.

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