Ellyn Bache grew up in Washington, DC, but has spent much of her adult life in the Carolinas. Although she studied English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at the University of Maryland, she turned to writing rather than teaching when she was homebound with the two oldest of her four children. She began as a freelance newspaper journalist, publishing hundreds of articles in The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Hagerstown (MD) Morning Herald, Greenville (SC) News, Chicago Tribune, and others over the years. But her primary interest was always in fiction, and after several years of rejections while she taught herself the craft, her first short story appeared in McCall’s. It was followed by others in a wide variety of commercial and literary magazines, ranging from Good Housekeeping and Seventeen to Shenandoah to the Carolina Quarterly. A collection of sixteen of her stories, The Value of Kindness, won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize. She is also the author of an online chapbook of five stories, Family Ties, published by Wordrunner echapbooks.
Ellyn’s family moved to Wilmington NC in 1985, where she completed her first novel, Safe Passage, about a family waiting to hear the fate of a son at the site of a terrorist bombing. The novel was later made into a film starring Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard.
Much of Ellyn’s work is set in the south. Festival in Fire Season is about a destructive forest fire similar to one that devastated parts of Southeastern North Carolina in the late 1980s. The Activist’s Daughter is about college life in North Carolina at the dawn of the civil rights movement. Riggs Park and Daughters of the Sea are set partly on the Wilmington-area beaches.
Ellyn’s 2011 novel, The Art of Saying Goodbye, was selected as an “Okra Pick” (bookseller favorites from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) and later as a SIBA Book of the Year Award nominee.
She is also co-author of the book of the musical comedy, Writers’ Bloc, about a group of aspiring writers who meet to critique, encourage, and celebrate each other’s work — until they discover that one of them is not who he says he is. The music and lyrics are by Joyce Cooper.
After more than twenty years in Wilmington, NC, Ellyn moved to Greenville SC, a vibrant, beautiful place she loves — but finds just a little too far from the ocean.