Ellen Urbani

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Ellen Urbani

Goodreads Author

in The United States



Member Since
December 2007

Ellen Urbani is the author of Landfall (2015, Forest Avenue Press), a work of contemporary historical fiction, and the memoir When I Was Elena (2006, The Permanent Press; a BookSense Notable selection). She has a BA from the University of Alabama and an MA from Marylhurst University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and numerous anthologies, and has been widely excerpted. She’s reviewed books for The Oregonian, served as a federal disaster/trauma specialist, and lectures nationally on this topic. Her work has been profiled in the Oscar-qualified documentary film Paint Me A Future. A Southern expat, her pets will always be dawgs and her truest allegiance will always reside with the Crimson Tide.

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Ellen Urbani Absolutely! In fact, I currently am seeking BOOK CLUBS to participate in my 60 IN '16 CHALLENGE:

My goal is to have 60 book clubs pick LANDFALL—at leas…more
Absolutely! In fact, I currently am seeking BOOK CLUBS to participate in my 60 IN '16 CHALLENGE:

My goal is to have 60 book clubs pick LANDFALL—at least one in each of the 50 states—before the end of 2016. You don’t necessarily need to read the book in 2016, you just need choose it as an upcoming selection before we flip the calendar page into 2017.

Every book club who signs up before the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2016, will receive:

•Author participation in your book club when you discuss LANDFALL, either in person (within 20 miles of Portland, Oregon) or via Skype, depending on author availability.
•A copy of the never-before-seen PROLOGUE to LANDFALL that is missing from the books available to the mass market!
• Invitations to LANDFALL events in your region.
•Autographed labels sent to each member of your book club to affix to the title page of LANDFALL.

Let me know to count you in by sending me an email at ellen@ellenurbani.com and together we’ll help LANDFALL make landfall in your hometown!(less)
Ellen Urbani I'm stewing on an idea for my next book, and hope to starting writing soon. At present, I'm bouncing ideas around in my head, and doing research. What…moreI'm stewing on an idea for my next book, and hope to starting writing soon. At present, I'm bouncing ideas around in my head, and doing research. What I can say is this: I think it will be historical fiction, set in the Pacific Northwest, and may also feature a cameo from one of my (real life) miniature donkeys! (less)
Average rating: 3.99 · 436 ratings · 108 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors

3.95 avg rating — 361 ratings — published 2015 — 9 editions
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4.11 avg rating — 9 ratings2 editions
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When I Was Elena

4.21 avg rating — 72 ratings — published 2006 — 3 editions
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.


Sometime in the middle years of my twenties, my sister and my cousin hennaed my breasts on a lark, using a dime-store-quality kit we bought off a mysterious woman at a street fair. It was summer. The air was heavy. The moon was full. It all made sense at the time. I had no idea[Read More]

The post HENNA HOUSE BY NOMI EVE appeared first on Ellen Urbani.

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Published on October 09, 2015 11:04

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There Is No Such Thing as a True Story (Biographies & Memoirs)
1 chapters   —   updated Mar 02, 2016 12:57PM
Description: NOTE: This personal essay about explaining domestic violence to children originally appeared in The Rumpus on March 1, 2016. http://therumpus.net/2016/03/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-true-story/
Like Every Other Survivor (Biographies & Memoirs)
1 chapters   —   updated Mar 02, 2016 12:56PM
Description: This personal essay about cancer survivorship and disaster response first appeared on the Powell's Blog on August 24, 2015. http://www.powells.com/post/original-essays/like-every-other-survivor
The Flower Petals Landed With A Thud (Biographies & Memoirs)
1 chapters   —   updated May 13, 2015 06:39PM
Description: This personal essay, about a misunderstanding between sisters, first appeared in the Modern Love column in The New York Times on February 1, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/style/modern-love-a-flower-delivery-that-brought-more-pain-than-pleasure.html?_r=0
WHEN I WAS ELENA, excerpt (Biographies & Memoirs)
4 chapters   —   updated Mar 29, 2010 04:33PM
Description: Tale of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala

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Ellen made a comment on Becky’s review of Landfall
Landfall by Ellen Urbani
" Thanks, Becky! No worries! I am really grateful to you for reading it and sharing your thoughts. Heaven knows that with young kids, books to write, an ...more "
Ellen made a comment on Liza’s review of Landfall
Landfall by Ellen Urbani
" Thank you, Liza, for taking the time to read and review my book. It is much appreciated! "
More of Ellen's books…
“Superstition, as indigenous to Louisiana as gators and Tabasco, holds that the spirits of the dead avenge any disruption of their bodies, which makes one wonder at the rancor released on the 1957 day when fifty-five white families re-interred their beloved in Hope Mausoleum after the Rt. Rev. Girault M. Jones, Bishop of Louisiana, deconsecrated the Girod Street Cemetery, condemning every last African American bone to anonymity in a mass grave in Providence Memorial Park. From that pogrom grew the Superdome. Thirteen acres of structural steel framing stretch up to 273 feet from the unholy ground, a towering testament to the American propensity to cheer black men into the end zones and desert them entirely six points later.”
Ellen Urbani, Landfall

“Before they were even fully cooked, Rose’s best ideas wound up brewing in a stew of her mother’s admonishments.”
Ellen Urbani, Landfall


~~ Members Choice for May ~~

Even tho many of us will be busy with spring cleaning...sigh... we still need to find some time to read...so...

Now is the time to vote on our nominated books for the May Member's Choice Book Nomination.

Please note that book covers may not be as shown in the poll. Covers vary on different editions. Please go by the title and author, not the book cover.

Time to vote now for the May Members Choice book selection. This poll will remain open until the end of the day on April 14th.

  20 votes, 28.2%

  17 votes, 23.9%

  10 votes, 14.1%

  8 votes, 11.3%

  6 votes, 8.5%

  5 votes, 7.0%

  5 votes, 7.0%

“Adventure comes with no guarantees or promises. Risk and reward are conjoined twins—and that’s why my favorite piece of advice needs translation but no disclaimers: Fortes fortuna juvat. ‘Fortune favors the brave,’ the ancient Roman dramatist Terrence declared. In other words, there are many good reasons not to toss your life up in the air and see how it lands. Just don’t let fear be one of them.”
Mary South, The Cure for Anything Is Salt Water: How I Threw My Life Overboard and Found Happiness at Sea

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
Mother Theresa

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
Nelson Mandela

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin.”
Benjamin E Mays
tags: goals

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Lawyer Dear Ellen, my thanks for your friendship. Landfall an exceptionally fine novel. You have led an exceptional life. Having read your novel, I'm moving on to your memoir When I Was Elena . From one grad of the University of Alabama to another, Roll Tide. I'm looking forward to your next work.

All the best,
Mike Sullivan

Ellen, I have added your book When I was Elena to my to-read list.

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