Ellen Urbani is the author of the memoir When I Was Elena, a Book Sense Notable selection documenting her life in Guatemala during the final years of that country’s civil war. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, including the much-read Modern Love column, and numerous anthologies. She earned a BA degree in writing and design at the University of Alabama in 1991, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala from 1991 to 1993, then returned to the United States where she earned an MA degree in art therapy from Marylhurst University, specializing in oncological illness and trauma survival. She has served as a federal disaster and trauma specialist and has lectured widely on the topic. She has also taught writing in Portland, Oregon.