I was born in Manchester England and moved to Scotland when I was seven years old. It was not always easy being seen as the outsider for although my mother was fully Scots my accent and mixed background meant that my siblings and I were seen as ‘Sassenachs’ and often were the subject of racially-focused bullying. I guess this sense of being on the outside and not feeling included has influenced much of my writing so in a funny way those bullies did me a favour.I studied Psychology and Business Studies at university in Edinburgh I met so many people from all over the world, all displaced for the sake of education. There I made lifelong friends and met my husband so I stayed on after and trained and worked as a primary school teacher in Scotland until I had my own children and then spent the next several years back in England and then in New Zealand before moving to Australia. During this time I completed my Masters in Art Education and held many different teaching roles including working with Iraqi refugees and teaching English to foreign students on exchange. These were exciting and busy times with the many challenges being a mum and being new in a foreign country bring.
Again on the outside, I was able to reflect on different perspectives and how identity really matters to a person. No longer living in Scotland I was able to look back at those times and reclaim my sense of cultural identity, my right to my heritage that had for so many years being denied me through the bullying I had gone through at school. I loved teaching and especially the change to connect with young people and to make a positive difference in their lives. I ran lots of extracurricular clubs at lunchtimes including chess clubs, journalism clubs, reading clubs and dance clubs! I used to love when students were able to win against me as it showed how far they had come in skill and confidence! I also started up an early years music appreciation business and went round kindergartens with a musician introducing young children to classical music. I loved writing and storytelling and enjoyed these different ways to share narratives and ideas with young people.
After many years in New Zealand, my family and I moved to Sydney, Australia. There I had the wonderful opportunity to run a language education business. This started small but within five years had grown enormously. It was such fun meeting new teachers who were from all over the world and who spoke many languages. I got to know Sydney very well travelling round to all the different schools to deliver foreign language programmes. It was a happy time full of laughter in classrooms and lots of new friendships built on the way.However, my burning passion to share stories and ideas through my writing lead me to sell the business and focus on my writing. So in these recent years, I have become involved in the area of family and mental health education. My first book ‘The Disappearing Sister’ has gained attention for its simple explanation of eating disorders aimed at siblings and families of sufferers. I also enjoy writing poetry and won the HARP Writers’ Prize in 2015 for a poem about gender and identity.
As for the future – there are still so many stories to share and I always working on a story whether it be the big ideas, the editing or being on the road visiting schools and sharing my work with students and teachers all around the world.
Want to read more information about Elizabeth?
Elizabeth is proud to be associated with the following organisations: