About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Fishel is a widely published journalist, the author of five nonfiction books, and a longtime writing teacher and mentor. Elizabeth’s books, essays, and magazine articles probe women’s lives and family stories across the decades and trace her own evolution as a daughter, sister, writer, wife, mother, friend, classmate, midlife woman, and now parent of grown-up sons.

Elizabeth has led the Wednesday Writers’ group in her Oakland, California living room since 1991 and added a Friday Writers’ group in 2004. She co-edited two anthologies of their work, Wednesday Writers, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, and Something That Matters. She offers weekend writers’ retreats in inspiring spots in Inverness, Point Reyes Station, and Napa. She has taught magazine writing at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and at UC Berkeley Extension where she was a 2007 Honored Instructor. She was also one of the authors honored by the Berkeley Public Library in 2015.

Elizabeth has made numerous media appearances and spoken to groups around the country about the topics of her books and research—from sister relationships to parenting both young children and grown-up kids. She frequently moderates as well as appears on programs about magazine writing and the writer’s life, among them the Berkeley YWCA annual Authors’ Lunch and the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. To arrange a speaking engagement or visit to your book group, please .

Elizabeth is also available for private writing consultations about individual pieces (essays, articles, and stories) as well as evaluations of book proposals and manuscripts and guidance on next steps. She has helped guide many writers from dream to drafts to publication, including Clare Cooper Marcus, Iona Dreaming; Audrey Ward, Hidden Biscuits: Tales of Deep South Revivals Told By Heart; and Irene Sardanis, Tales From the Bronx, winner of the Independent Press Award for Best Inspirational Book, 2020. Again, email her here.

Elizabeth grew up in New York City and attended the Brearley School (which she writes about in Reunion). She got her B.A. cum laude from Harvard and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford. She fell in love with California at 17 and now lives in Oakland with her husband, Robert Houghteling who is the founding director of the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute. They have two grown sons, Nate and Will.

Elizabeth has been a board member of the UCSF Medical Center Auxiliary at Mount Zion Hospital and is dedicated to working on behalf of a cure for breast cancer, the disease that took her mother’s life. She loves swimming her daily laps, puttering in her garden, hiking in the Berkeley-Oakland hills and exploring Pt. Reyes with her husband and sons, and of course, reading.