Elizabeth Bruce, a small town Texas native who has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1983, has twice received literary and acting fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She has co-authored commissioned scripts for Adventure Theatre, Sanctuary Theatre, and the Washington Ethical Society, and was 1st Place Winner in Carpetbag Theatre’s W.F. Lucas Playwriting Competition in Knoxville, Tennessee. Ms. Bruce has published in The Washington Post, Writers’ Roundtable, The Long Short Story, and other publications; early chapters have been featured in Lines and Stars: a District Literary Journal, and Writers on the Green Line: An Anthology.Ms. Bruce was a selected participant in the inaugural Heritage Writers’ Workshop at George Mason University, launched by novelist Richard Bausch, as well as in both George Washington University’s Jenny McKean Moore Fiction Workshop with novelist John McNally and the Rappahannock Fiction Writers’ Workshop with novelists Lee K. Abbott, Janet Peery, Robert Olmstead, Michael Parker, and Sheri Reynolds. She has also workshopped portions of And Silent Left the Place with novelist-instructors Liam Callanan, Maxine Clair, Patricia Browning Griffith, Tina McElroy Ansa, Alan Lefcowitz, and Lisa Schamess.Ms. Bruce is a member of numerous literary or theatre organizations, including Washington Independent Writers, The Writers’ Center, National Writers Union, Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Texas Coalition of Writers, Texas League of Writers, and Women Writing the West, as well as The Actors’ Center and The Playwrights Unit. In the 1980s and early 90s, Elizabeth Bruce, together with Michael Oliver and Jill Navarre, co-founded and co-directed Sanctuary Theatre, a nonprofit, professional transcultural theatre presenting international works in the converted old sanctuary of a church on Columbia Road in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. As an actor she performed most recently with the Irish arts theatre company, Solas Nua, and at the 2007 Capital Fringe Festival.
Ms. Bruce has had a 20+ year association with the community-based, bilingual, multicultural educational and family service organization, CentroNía, currently serving as Director of the Multidisciplinary Arts Program. She is married to educator/writer Michael Oliver, with whom she has raised their two teenage children in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood.
In April of 1963 a young woman stands naked and afraid in the South Texas dark, silenced by a rich man’s bargain–a roll in the desert for her boyfriend’s release from jail. Miles away, a silent old man climbs into his secret hole, burdened by his Great War bargain–his voice for life with his beloved. In And Silent Left the Place the burden of silence passes from old to young on this landscape filled with racial violence. Drawing metaphorical references – as well as its title – from the story of King Midas’ barber in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.The debut novel of Washington writer Elizabeth Bruce, Silent is a lyric tale of brutality, redemption, and love reclaimed in the cruel, dry land of Texas.
2007 Fiction Winner, Washington Writers’ Publishing House
Bronze Winner – ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in General Fiction 2007
Nominated for Texas Institute of Letters’ Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction 2007
The Montserrat Review’s Best Books for Summer Reading 2008
Recommended by Small Press Distributors 2007
“Bruce’s characters leap off the page at you, they have vividness and substance, and the result, reading her work, is that one feels the life there… a deeply gifted writer.”
—Richard Bausch winner of the PEN/Faulkner and PEN/Malamud Awards
“Elizabeth Bruce has written a beautiful and layered story of lives intertwined by multi-generational secrets.”
—Gretchen Roberts-Shorter, author of Can’t Remember Playing (WWPH Press) and 2007 WWPH Fiction Judge,
“Bruce is an incredibly disciplined writer with an exquisite ear for language and a vivid sense of character… Her strength lies in how well she can convey what makes an individual unique, yet can include all her characters in the broader sweep of history and culture.”
—Lisa Schamess, author ofBorrowed Light (SMU Press 2002) and winner of the 2003 Texas Institute of Letters Prize for First Fiction.
I love the courage of Armitage’s poems, the risks, the splendor, as in these lines from the title poem: Like the widow who ‘shared her food / with Elijah… lately it seems, the more I bake, / the more the oil rises in the jar.’
—Walter McDonald, Poetry Editor, Texas Tech University Press
Barri Armitage’s poems strike me as a charmed echo of the eighteenth century, in clarity, fluidity, and rationality.
—Jack Zucker, Editor, The Bridge