Ellen Gray Massey
Ellen has been a teacher of children and adults, a writer, an editor, and a mentor for more than forty-five years. She shares her love of the Ozarks by speaking to regional groups and teaching Road Scholar classes. She tirelessly works toward portraying the Ozarks in a positive light to the rest of world. Since retiring from her teaching position at Lebanon High School, Lebanon, Missouri, Ellen has given 428 talks -- 120 of them for the Missouri Humanities Council. Most of her talks have been in Missouri, but she has also spoken to groups in Arkansas, Illinois, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, North Carolina, and Washington state. She has also taught classes on Ozark Heritage at 113 Elderhostel (now known as Road Scholar) classes at YMCA of the Ozarks in Potosi, Missouri, at Ozark Adventures programs in Branson, Missouri, and at thirty-three graduate education courses at Drury University of Springfield, Missouri.
Besides her many novels and nonfiction books, she is author of numerous short stories and magazine articles. She has also compiled and edited several anthologies of short stories. And from 1973-1983, it was Ellen who created and oversaw the production and editing of Bittersweet, the Ozark Quarterly magazine, in which Lebanon High School students (sophomores through seniors) interviewed older folks around the Ozarks in order to preserve, first-hand, in writing and in pictures, the history and stories that were dying off with their generation. Click here to see the complete ten-year collection (40 editions) of Bittersweet.
A frequent award-winner, Ellen was one of the charter inductees into the first Writers Hall of Fame of America. She has won fifteen first place awards from The Missouri Writers Guild and has five times been awarded their annual Best Book Award -- most recently in 2012 for Best Anthology for Mysteries of the Ozarks, Vol. IV -- and their Major Work award for A Candle Within Her Soul, as well as the Guild's Best Script award for her musical play A Life I Can See. Ellen was a finalist three times in the Western Writers of America Spur Awards, most recently in 2009 for her novel Her Enemies, Blue & Gray. She is also a member of the Missouri Folklore Society. In November, 2012, Ellen was one of five honorees inducted on the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce's WALL OF HONOR in Lebanon, Missouri.
Ellen's much-anticipated Footprints in the Ozarks: A Memoir was released in February 2012. Dedicated in loving memory of her husband, Lane, it is the story of Ellen's arrival in the Ozarks in the mid-1940s, her marriage, and raising a family on an Ozark farm. See the book's cover and reviews on the "Books and Pictures" section of this site.
After more than forty years, the Gray siblings' thirty-plus years of correspondence has finally been released in book form! A compilation of letters written among the eight siblings during some of the most important years of America's history, OUR ROBIN IS READ: VOICES FROM THE WAYSIDE is now available in softcover and e-edition. See the "News" section of this website for more information.