Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane

Forthcoming novel available for pre-order:

Elizabeth Crane


The History of

Great Things

We Only Know

So Much

You Must Be This Happy To Enter


Movie Updates & Trailer

We Only Know So Much

We Only Know So Much, based on Elizabeth Crane's novel and adapted for film by Crane and Donal Lardner Ward, reveals the emotional life of four generations of the Copeland family. As Jean (Jeanne Tripplehorn) reckons with consequences of an affair, her husband, Gordon (Damian Young), worries he's falling prey to the same dementia that has afflicted his father (Loudon Wainwright III). Their children, Otis (Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things) and Priscilla (Taylor Rose), navigate the pitfalls of first love and young adulthood, while the family's 95-year-old matriarch, Vivian (Virginia Robinson), struggles to maintain control of the household in the comedic drama.

About the Filmmaker

Donal Lardner Ward launched his professional career with an acting role in Whit Stillman's 1990 breakout indie, Metropolitan, then went on to co-write, co-produce, co-direct, and co-star in the 1994 indie hit, My Life's In Turnaround. Donal has been employed as a screenwriter or television writer by Sony, Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Universal, Paramount, Fox, IFC, HBO, and Amazon, as well as various independent producers. We Only Know So Much is his fourth feature as director.


We Only Know So Much premiered at the Nantucket Film Festival in June 2018, and was shown at the Circle Cinema Film Festival in Tulsa in July 2018. More announcements soon about upcoming events!




“Cowritten, in a sense, by a daughter and her absent mother (who speaks from beyond the grave), this is an important work, fearless in both structure and vision, with Crane’s razor-edge fusion of intelligence, humor, and emotion informing every chapter. Get ready, world: this one’s going to be huge.”

“I cannot remember the last time I simultaneously cried and laughed as hard as I did while reading Elizabeth Crane’s glorious, tender knockout of a novel, The History of Great Things. Wait, yes I can. It was the last time I spoke to my mom about life.”


author of "I Want to Show You More"


author of

"Dark Sparkler"

“Like everything Elizabeth Crane writes, The History of Great Things is wonderful fun to read-smart, insightful, and witty-but it will break your heart, too. It stares down the poignant question so many daughters want to ask:

How well did my mother

really know me?”


author of

"Eleven Hours" and

"The Virgins"

"Elizabeth Crane has written a novel that is both unprecedented and fantastic (a word I mean in every sense). Without question, the unconventional narrative is compelling in a can’t-stop-reading kind of way. But there’s more to this book than a keen story cleverly told. Her every page thrums with wisdom, buzzes with truth. What did I learn after reading The History of Great Things? I learned that love survives death. And that no one ever really goes away, even if they have. And that all sides have many stories. And that we make our own happiness. This is unlike any novel I’ve ever encountered and it’s absolutely wonderful.” ​

"In her signature prose style, full of verve and wit, Elizabeth Crane unpacks the problematic relationship between mother and daughter that will resonate with anyone. By telling each other’s stories, the mother and daughter in The History of Great Things reinvent each other, their relationship, and the possibility of empathy. You will cry, weep, and be glad you went along for this very particular beautiful and heartbreaking ride.” 


author of "Hausfrau"


author of "The Still Point of the Turning World"



Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane is the author of four collections of short stories, Turf, When the Messenger is Hot, All this Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter  as well as two novels, We Only Know So Much and The History of Great Things. Her work has been translated into several languages and has been featured in numerous publications including Other Voices, Nerve, Ecotone, Swink, Guernica, Coachella Review, Mississippi Review, Florida Review, Bat City Review, fivechapters, The Collagist, Make, Hobart, Rookie, Fairy Tale Review, failbetter, The Huffington Post, Eating Well, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Reader and The Believer, and anthologies including Altared, The Show I’ll Never Forget, The Best Underground Fiction, Who Can Save Us Now?, Brute Neighbors and Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2008 and 2010. Her stories have been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts. Crane is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award, and her work has been adapted for the stage by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater company, and also been adapted for film. She teaches in the UCR-Palm Desert low-residency MFA program. A film adaptation of We Only Know So Much premiered at the Nantucket Film Festival in June 2018.



Manuscript Consultation & Private Workshops

I've taught creative writing at the college and graduate level for 15 years at the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2009, I've been a core faculty member in the UCR-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Program.

If you're interested in setting up a one-time manuscript consultation or working with me in a workshop format, feel free to contact me for more information at elizabethcrane1979@gmail.com.



Contact me at:

Representation: Alice Tasman, Jean Naggar Literary Agency



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