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A BIT ABOUT MARELIZE ROETS

I am a born-and-bred South African currently living in the United States. I am a writer, a teacher, and an actively involved literary community constituent. I aim to use my writing to open a dialogue of encouragement to those who choose to follow a career path less traveled and to show naysayers how immensely influential writers are and can be. My ultimate personal goal is to understand myself fully through my writing. I use genres such as literary fiction, psychological horror, and realism to distinctly and purely express my thoughts and feelings.

My ultimate career goal is to be a screenwriter and author. After graduating from Full Sail University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, I was approached to write a feature-length horror film. After a year of writing, development, and pre-production, the film, titled [Un]sheltered, was produced in Orlando, Florida. The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an array of setbacks and obstacles that many of us did not foresee but as we regain a sense of a new normal, the post-production processes finalized and [Un]sheltered was signed for distribution by Buffalo 8 Productions. The film is set to release in 2021. Including the incredible opportunity to write and produce a feature-length film, I have continued to hone my screenwriting skills during my Master of Fine Arts candidacy at the University of Central Florida. I have written three distinct short films that have been entered into three different screenwriting competitions in 2021. I have also published two flash fiction stories, "One in Three" and "The War of Socks," in respected literary journals. Every story I write adds to me a little, changes me a little, forces me to reexamine an attitude or belief, causes me to research and learn, helps me to understand people and grow.

Another career goal of mine is to be a college professor. I initially fell in love with education during one of my first jobs as a teacher. In 2013, I started a teaching position during my sophomore year at university in South Africa. I was employed to teach English, Afrikaans, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, History, and Art at a home-schooling institution for kindergarten to high school students. In 2014, I was employed as a teaching assistant for English Composition at the University of Johannesburg while I was a student in the Journalism department. Thereafter, in 2015, I was awarded a full scholarship to earn my honors degree in Journalism at the University of Johannesburg. I was also selected as a teaching assistant for third year Journalism students in New Media Journalism and Broadcast Journalism.

After I earned my Journalism degree with honors, I relocated to the United States in pursuit of the aforementioned Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. I enrolled at Full Sail University and, after two years, graduated as Valedictorian of my class in 2017. During my Full Sail University career, my flash fiction story, "Summer," was published by a literary journal, I became a mentor and teaching assistant for the Visual Arts in the Entertainment and Media Industries course, and I was appointed as an assistant editor for the Orlando-based literary journal Ghost Parachute.

I am currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate in Creative Writing (Fiction) at the University of Central Florida and expect to graduate in December 2021. I was awarded a graduate teaching associateship from the Department of Writing and Rhetoric where I taught English Composition II as well as a graduate assistantship with the Knights of Distinction co-curricular program under the Quality Enhancement Plan at the University of Central Florida and remain an assistant editor for Ghost Parachute.

After five and a half years of living in Orlando, I fancy myself a Florida native. I have learned to enjoy the taste of fried gator tail and Orange Blossom beer. I have also immersed myself deeper into the outstanding local literary community by regularly attending readings and author meet-and-greets. In 2021, I was appointed as a reader for the selection committee of The Kerouac Project of Orlando to determine the 2021 and 2022 writers in residence and an assistant editor for Ghost Parachute: 105 Flash Fiction Stories, an anthology published by the literary journal Ghost Parachute

As a globe-trotting woman writer from South Africa, I am rapidly gaining my ten thousand hours of experience writing. I live my life by making bad decisions until someone comes from the future to stop me.