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Rhodes receptionist Elizabeth Montague has a glittering array of tales in debut collection

From urban crises to edgy adventures in space, Dust and Glitter, a collection of short stories, has given Bishop's Stortford author Elizabeth Montague the chance to showcase her broad range and style as a fiction writer.

Elizabeth – better known as Liz Murphy, the friendly box office assistant on Rhodes Arts Complex’s reception desk – has had her debut collection published by Clarendon House.

The publisher released one of her short stories, The Little Girl Who Stole The Wind, as part of its stories for children anthology, Window. Her work was entered in a competition and garnered the most readers’ votes, giving Liz the chance to have her own collection published.

Elizabeth Montague (Liz Murphy) with her new book, Dust and Glitter(13730596)
Elizabeth Montague (Liz Murphy) with her new book, Dust and Glitter(13730596)

“The overriding theme in all of the stories is it’s all about you are what you are. Life isn’t this Instagram ‘look how perfect my life is’ picture,” said Liz. “It charts the highs and the lows. The glitter is the best and the dust is the bad.”

Each of Liz’s stories are standalone tales, unconnected to another, and the genres range from sci-fi to fantasy to magical realism. They are, however, written in chronological order of life.

The first stories centre on younger characters as they come of age, while the later tales focus on people nearing the end of their lives.

Liz lives on the Parsonage estate with husband Darren and their four-year-old daughter Annabelle, to whom she has dedicated the book.

Liz grew up in Stortford. She attended Thorley Hill Primary before moving on to Herts and Essex High School, which now proudly displays a copy of Dust and Glitter in its library.

She has worked at Rhodes for three years. “You can’t help but be inspired in a place like this and by the people you meet and the things you see,” she said.

“In 2017 I started to write my own stuff – short flash fiction. And I worked a lot with Stortford Scribblers. A lot of things in the book wouldn’t be here without them.”

The Stortford Scribblers is a group of writers who meet fortnightly at the Apton Centre. Members give constructive feedback on each other’s writing in a supportive and nurturing environment. The group, formed in 2004, held its first exhibition at Rhodes’ ArtSpace last September.

Liz is now looking to write her first novel.

Dust and Glitter can be purchased from Amazon or at www.clarendonhousebooks.com.

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