Frankie Rollins

Writer of myths, fairy tales, and other true stories.


Frankie Rollins’ latest book is a flash fiction novella titled, The Grief Manuscript, published with Finishing Line Press in May 2020. Of which poet, Annie Guthrie, writes, “In the author’s expert hands, heartache can be catalogued into slides of ‘sore memories’ and ‘cut-out wounds.’ The Grief Manuscript chronicles a relationship’s built up symptoming, as the speaker sorts through attic boxes, photo albums, and remembered conversations.”

Frankie has also published another novella, “Doctor Porchiat’s Dream,” in the Running Wild Press Novella Anthology 3 Volume 2 in December 2019. Frankie previously published a collection of short fiction, The Sin Eater & Other Stories with Queen’s Ferry Press in 2013. Of this book, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Unsettling imagery and hauntingly beautiful language characterize these stories, as ephemeral and indefinable as dreams.” Her work has appeared in Feminist Wire, Fairy Tale Review, Sonora Review, Conjunctions, The New England Review, and Bellevue Literary Review, among others.

Rollins’ second book, the flash fiction novella, The Grief Manuscript, was released in May 2020 during the pandemic. To celebrate the release of the book, Rollins invited various accomplished artists, videographers, and musicians to create art in response to the imagistic text. The resulting video is a rich tapestry of vivid compositions. This unconventional video was directed and produced by multi-media artist and composer, Samantha Bounkeua (Arts Foundation of Tucson & Southern AZ grant recipient & Rogue Violin Studios LLC founder), and digital artist, Cyane Tornatzky (recipient of SUPERNOVA’s Director’s Choice selection in Denver, September 2020 for the animation “Where I Am When I’m Not with You”).


The Sin Eater and Other Stories

Damage suffuses The Sin Eater and Other Stories. From within Elizabeth Frankie Rollins’ construct of the blighted home an adulterous husband calls on the services of a stranger to expunge his guilt, a young couple is diagnosed with the bubonic plague, and a bored woman finds herself growing a tail. Yet these others don’t dwell; instead, they frame themselves in a way that is sound in structure and sentiment and plunges them from metaphor into modern-day marvel. In the evocative stories of this debut collection, even the tightest crevices dazzle with restorative possibility.


“Then, readers take a sharp turn into the fantastical with an eerie fairy tale called Doctor Porchiat’s Dream by Frankie Rollins that follows the adventures of a quirky physician in a superstitious town as he chases scientific proof of the soul. . . [and makes] full use of the novella form by deftly exploring the perspectives of various characters.”


The Grief Manuscript 

Here are remnants carried over from the surreal specificity of living in the threshold of loss. Rollins’ power lies not in getting over but in her attention while being in the midst. In fact, this is her invitation, her demand, and her gift. Open this book knowing you’ll be greeted by pain so pure as to border on the ecstatic. Expect, too, to be seared by immaculate images, ransacked by dexterous tonal range, and shorn to the bone by the wry sweep of grief written into, which is not to say explained. Each time I read The Grief Manuscript, I am wildly undone, genuinely grateful, and profoundly impressed.

–TC Tolbert


Doctor Porchiat’s Dream

in Running Wild Press Novella Anthology 3 Volume 2

Writing from the Fifth Brain

Frankie has thought deeply about the psychology of people who write, and she has found ways to guide them into their own processes. Her manuscript, Writing from the Fifth Brain, is the culmination of this work, a book that teaches readers how to understand and value their own imaginations and harness those wonders to the page. She has honed a way to help people understand their own patterns of sustaining their own thinking and writing routines. She is currently seeking a publisher for this book. Along with Tucson writers, Eric Aldrich and Sandra Shattuck, Frankie is part of the Fifth Brain Collective, a social media project and coming YouTube channel that advocates for artists getting their work made.

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Frankie has been working on a guide to the imagination for people who write. She notes that people crave measurements to signify progress, but writing doesn’t work like this. There’s no formula that fits every person who writes at every stage of their life. What people have to say will change, how they will write their texts will change, and it is from this loose footing that any person writes. To get any writing done, the method must be flexible and singular to each person. Frankie’s book, Do You Feel Like Writing? offers permission, prompts, and inspiration for the readers of this book to examine the ingredients of their own experiences and get some writing done.

Here is the opening of the chapter titled, “Fluidity,” from this book: “Every writer I’ve ever known has said at some point, I just want time to write.

This is what I know about making time in the writing life: you must be dogged and you must be fluid. What is fluidity for writers? It is the possibility of making the impossibility-of-no-time into writing time. If you are a writer feeling like you’re not a writer because you have no time, because you have no money, because your faith is lapsing, because your good work isn’t recognized, remember this: the river of writing is always inside of you. It belongs to you. It is ever present. Sometimes it’s murky green and filled with bloated dead cows. Sometimes it sparkles and slaps with fat leaping fish. Other times, it is only a watery thread in black muck. Regardless of its incarnation, it is always there. It belongs to you and only you, and you are responsible for it.”

Frankie is working on fiction projects, too. She’s got a new collection of short stories in progress, The Empty House Fairytales, and a novel, Origin.

Frankie moderated and participated on a panel, “The Cultural Contours of Grief,” for the 2021 Virtual Associated Writing Programs Conference coming up in March with Michelle Chikoanda, Monica Macansantos, and Kimi Eisele.


Frankie has taught creative writing to a wide range of folks including fourth graders, college students, and adults. For nine years, she traveled New Jersey as a teaching artist, teaching creative writing workshops in the schools. During the same period, Frankie taught her own creative writing workshop series to adults in various locations including an imports store, a florist, and multiple living rooms. Frankie taught in community colleges in New Jersey and Philadelphia before moving to Tucson, AZ where she became full-time English faculty at Pima Community College. Now she teaches Honors and Creative Writing classes, and serving as the faculty advisor for Pima’s award-winning art and literary magazine, SandScript.


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