Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish
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About Me

I fell in love with publishing and have worked in every nook and cranny of the field my entire life.

I began editing Mobil Travel Guides. Wrote and edited articles for educational health magazines. Reported stories for newspapers and magazines. After becoming a mother, I worked as a freelance writer and editor. Later I added photography and page layout to my skills as editor and publisher of print and online publications.

I love everything about bringing words to the page. And I love helping writers achieve their publishing goals.

I’m driven by three things:


To leave a unique mark in the world. To be seen. Our footprint, in words. It answers the question: Who are you and what do you leave behind?


To have a voice and be heard. Identifying and hearing our own voice is a powerful personal experience. Capturing and sharing it can change parts of your life, as well as someone else’s.


Being open and vulnerable on the page or screen has an uncanny ability to touch and move others. To make meaning from our life. When a person shows his or her true self, it can reverberate. It can touch another heart and even, possibly change or move another mind.

Not only does storytelling allow us to be seen and heard and move others, it allows us to tell the truth about our lives.

Which is my mission.

Ellen Blum Barish just released her memoir, Seven Springs (Shanti Arts, 2021), and is a contributor to the anthology Chicago Storytellers From Stage to Page (Chicago Story Press, 2020) and author of Views from the Home Office Window (Adams Street Publishing, 2007)Her essays have been published in Brevity’s Blog, Full Grown People, Literary Mama, Tablet and The Chicago Tribune and have aired on Chicago Public Radio. Ellen founded the literary publication Thread, which earned four notables in Best American Essays and she has taught writing at Northwestern University where she earned a master’s in journalism. She currently teaches workshops at Story Studio Chicago and Lighthouse Writers Workshop and works privately with writers on essay collections and memoir.

How I Can Help

Want to get started on a project that has your heart?
Looking for support for a revision?
Trying to keep moving on a writing project but running into snags?
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“I have not seen an editor who is able to support, encourage and create safe spaces for writers to explore, all the while offering straight-shooting critical, professional feedback. Ellen’s illuminates rather than wounds. She is honest; I always knew I was getting the truth.”
— Jan Sugar, Writer and Workshop Participant

More About Me

In 2018, I was honored with the award for Individual Artistic Excellence by my hometown Arts Commission. Every year the Skokie Fine Arts Commission awards the Award for Artistic Excellence to a Skokie resident who has contributed to the visual, performing, musical or literary arts.

Award judging criteria include:

  • Visibility in the Skokie community
  • Scope of artistic talents
  • Breadth of impact – number of people reached
  • Recognition and awards the artist has in Skokie and the entire region received
  • Demonstration of artistic excellence

All Artistic Excellence Award recipients received a plaque and enjoyed a reception that was hosted by the Fine Arts Commission in their honor. Additionally, their names were added to a perpetual plaque that is permanently on display at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie.

Seven Springs (My memoir in progress)

I’ll be reading a section of my memoir at:

Fresh Meat
The Celtic Knot in Evanston
Sunday, November 10, 2019, 8 p.m.

Views from the Home Office Window: On Motherhood, Family and Life

Available on Amazon

Read reviews of the book

The Chicago Tribune featured me as part of “Shout Out,” a weekly feature where reporters introduce readers to their fellow community members and local visitors throughout suburban Chicago.

Thanks to Aaron Masliansky, who welcomed me in as a guest to his “Inside the Skev” podcast which spotlights people of interest throughout the Skokie and Evanston communities.

Ellen Barish is the founder and editor of Thread, an independent online literary publication featuring short personal essays and flash nonfiction (Stitch) that illuminate moments of human experience by established and emerging writers.

  • Essays in Thread have been on the Best American Essays Notable list in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020
  • Four-star review of Thread in The Review Review (2016)
  • Women in Communications awards for essays in Toledo Area Parent News
  • Honorable Mention for the essay “Thank You, Mrs. Rosensweig,” by Tiferet
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Silver Award for Footnotes, 2014
  • Crystal Award for Writing, Single Feature
    The Association for Women in Communications, 2000
  • Merit Award for Writing, Single Feature Story
    The Association for Women in Communications Crystal/Matrix Award, 1999
  • Excellence Award – Silver Award
    Parenting Publications of America, 1999
  • Excellence Award, Personal Essay, Honorable Mention
    Parenting Publications of America / Medill School of Journalism, 1998

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