Rachel Roberts

Creative Nonfiction | University of Akron | Class of 2022

Rachel Roberts’ essay collection, Soliloquy in Song, opens with our narrator stepping from the wings to center stage, taking her place at the microphone, alone, hoping she won’t forget the words. There could be no more appropriate beginning for this work, a rich and varied expression of a life in song -- in performance, in duets, in vulnerable moments offstage, in transit to the next gig—always in pursuit of a dream that tumbles and swirls along with her own evolving self. Song lyrics are interspersed with Rachel’s crisp prose; her voice chimes brightly through every page. —David Giffels


About Rachel

Rachel Roberts is a nonfiction essayist, graduate journal editor, and singer-songwriter from Akron, Ohio. She writes about performance, travel, and the laugh-worthy yet heart wrenching counterpoint of success and failure. She has published four albums and hopes to release a collection of essays with a supporting soundtrack.

What are your favorite words? Why?

There is a tiny cookie fortune in my office that says, “If you want to win anything—a race, yourself, your life—you have to go a little berserk.” Maybe I just like the word “berserk,” but it’s true. The frenzy, the excitement, the getting wild about something; that’s berserk. That’s passion and fire. Berserk doesn’t drive on paved roads. It traverses the tundra and the rainforests and explores the nature of one’s limits. It's borderline crazy and unpredictable but that’s what makes a creative-driven journey desirable. Because no one said winning was at the end of a race, or yourself, or your life; winning is in the making. It’s the dedication to what fuels you. And that stuff is potent, so I hope you take a sip and go a little berserk along the way.

What’s your secret talent?

I make the world’s best vegan caramel popcorn. 

Your advice to an incoming MFA student? Or the best piece of advice you received as a young writer?

The workshop is going to feel overwhelming at first. Remember, you don’t have to take everyone’s advice. You will find the NEOMFAers that connect with your work. They will give comments that resonate with your process. Shake off the comments that give you that icky feeling. Some people won’t “get” it. But don’t you dare worry about that. You aren’t here to appease other classmates. Always, first and foremost: you do you. You’ll find your people.