Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish
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Praise from Students, Clients and Administrators


I heard Ellen speak at an Off Campus Writers’ workshop meeting and was so impressed that I asked her if she could help me with some editing and direction with a book. We met twice at a local coffee shop, several hours each time, and talking with her was just wonderful! I work with a great editor in New York but felt like I needed a face-to-face. Ellen’s excitement was infectious. I came away with the fuel I needed to press on!
Janice LaRosa, author of a memoir in progress

After Ellen’s sensitive read of my memoir, I was able quickly to tighten up the flabby places and rework the book’s opening. Ellen sniffed out the book’s ‘heart’ and showed me how to point the reader toward it from page one. Her help with the project – both in early planning conversations and in her read of the final draft – was invaluable.
Lee Strickland, author of the memoir, Girl, Ruined

I had never considered radio as a forum for my essays. Ellen’s coaching and guidance have brought a new direction to my writing. I’ve just recorded my third radio piece!
Alene Frost, radio essayist

Her writing suggestions are concrete and affirming on the line editing level as well as the bigger picture narrative level. She is very amicable, efficient with our time and is also accessible and flexible with meeting schedules. I’m looking forward to working with her more as a coach as well as a memoir class instructor.
Judy Panko Reis, essayist

Every year we kept thinking that we should be writing down our family stories, but no one took any action. Then we met Ellen and learned about her special talent for capturing family stories. Our whole family now delights in the stories she wrote based on conversations with my mother, my sister and I. We plan to continue the saga and make it a living history of our family with each person adding their own chapters. We are very excited about the potential of this to enrich our children’s lives.
Joan Cartier, who hired Ellen to write a family memoir

I initially chose Ellen to work on my first manuscript because she made me feel comfortable and supported on the other end of the phone. Throughout the editing process, she was available to answer questions and do the necessary handholding I needed. Her edits were clear and easy to incorporate. When the manuscript needed an additional edit, Ellen was more than generous with her time.
Marcie Schwartz, author, Parenting with Awareness

Business Communications

Ellen’s insightful and careful editing made me feel confident about my final manuscript. She met all my deadlines and guided me through some questions and concerns I had about my project. If you are looking for a seasoned editor to polish your prose, I highly recommend Ellen.
Laurie Wurth Pressel, writer

Ellen is a talented editor. She examined the text I wrote for my website. Her advice and suggestions helped me clarify what I wanted to say.
Sharyn Reiff, speech-language pathologist

My experience with Ellen was very rewarding. She collaborated seamlessly with me over a period of time that could have presented challenges due to busy scheduling. Each time we spoke, the work in progress became more defined resulting in an elegantly written result. I am very pleased.
Laura Foreman, photographer resume and business materials


Ellen Barish lent her expertise as a writer and editor to help me shape the manuscript, and with her wit, humor and wisdom helped me to understand what Syd needed, and also what she didn’t need. I am forever grateful to have shared the process with her; Syd and I both grew as a result of her efforts.
Ellen Frankel, author, Syd Arthur


Ellen creates a warm, safe and creative environment in which students can excel… She is such a pleasure to work with and to have on our faculty. I never worry about her not being prepared and in fact, have been consistently impressed with her thoroughness and commitment in the classroom. We’re so lucky to have found Ellen and have every intention of keeping her!
Jill Pollack
Director, StoryStudio Chicago

It’s my pleasure to recommend Ellen Blum Barish based on the excellent work she has done as an adjunct faculty instructor for the Writing Program in our Engineering Design and Communication (EDC) courses at Northwestern University. Ellen is a true professional who works efficiently and creatively with students and faculty in this team-taught, cross-school course. Since EDC is a required design course for freshmen, and since this is their first experience with completely new subject matter and a real-world project that their team has to define and manage, students often find the course frustrating. But Ellen takes this challenge in stride, and students say she is “easy to get along with” although sometimes a tough grader. All of the written deliverables in this course stem from the students’ design projects, so it is helpful to have someone like Ellen, who has taught writing at a variety of levels in and out of the academy, on our faculty roster. I have greatly appreciated her dependability and flexibility over the past five years, during which time she has team-taught easily with a number of different engineering instructors, who all find her a delightful partner.
Penny Hirsch, Ph.D
Co-chair of Engineering Design and Communication
Professor of Instruction and Associate Director
The Writing Program
Northwestern University

We hired Ellen for two primary functions – to coach students individually on their writing and to design a pre-orientation language and cultural immersion program for our international students – she performed very well in both areas. Ellen is a fantastic writing coach. She worked primarily with our English as a Second Language population to identify and improve on their individual writing challenges. She was caring, patient and supportive with the students and built a regular ‘client base.’ In the program design project Ellen was able to thoroughly research the problem we were trying to solve and was creative and innovative in designing a solution.
Nancy Bennett
Former Associate Director, Medill Career Services
The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University

 Ellen Blum-Barish has taught for us in several capacities this past year. She first came to us to coach and tutor graduate nursing students whose educational roots stretch far back in time and very widely in country of origin, then in both fall and spring, she’s taught a developmental “Fundamentals of Composition” class; she’s also taught our first-year and second-year core seminars. Her reviews in all areas have been stellar, a remarkable achievement, given the span of audiences.…I’ve been impressed by Ms. Blum-Barish’s diligence in figuring out how to best adapt herself to our programs and student body and by her hard work in reassessing and adapting her plans to the needs of students. She was totally unafraid of asking for advice, and she’s been an intelligent and diligent colleague in the team-taught core seminars.
Carol A. N. Martin, PhD
Writing Coordinator
The Writing Center
North Park University