Elizabeth Oness

Elizabeth Oness grew up in Chappaqua, New York, and did her undergraduate work at James Madison University in Virginia. 

Her work has appeared in The Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, Glimmer Train, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review and other literary magazines. Her stories have received an O. Henry Prize, a Nelson Algren Award and other notices. Her story collection, Articles of Faith, won the 2000 Iowa Short Fiction Prize and was published by the University of Iowa Press.  

Her first novel, Departures, was published by Penguin in 2004. Twelve Rivers of the Body won the Gival Press Novel Award and was published in October 2008. A collection of poems, Fallibility, was released from New Rivers Press in the Fall of 2009. 

Elizabeth’s latest novel, Leaving Milan, was published in May 2015. It was the winner of the Brighthorse Press Novel Award.

Harper, the hero of Elizabeth Oness’s new novel, Leaving Milan, hopes for a life far from the small Ohio town where she has grown up, a place where distances are measured not by blocks or even miles, but by chain restaurants—“past Chi Chi’s, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell,” a place where the air smells of fast food and car exhaust. Her hopes haven’t died; they were never born. “She was preparing for something without knowing what it was. Each day, she hoped for an adventure, and each day, it didn’t happen. Like the horizon, it was always there, before her.” And yet somehow Harper does forge a new life for herself. Elizabeth Oness writes with subtle power and compassion about courage, strength, and the unshakeable bonds of love.

Elizabeth teaches composition, literature and fiction writing. She directs marketing and development for literary fine press Sutton Hoo Press, and lives in rural Minnesota with her husband, the poet C. Mikal Oness, and their son. 


  • PhD | University of Missouri-Columbia 
  • MFA: Poetry | University of Maryland 
Dr. Elizabeth Oness

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