About Ellen


Ellen Cassedy headshot

Photograph by J. Tkatch


Ellen Cassedy is the author of We Are Here, the translator of On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash, and the co-translator (with Yermiyahu Ahron Taub) of Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories by Blume Lempel.   We Are Here begins as she sets out to connect with her Jewish family roots, but her quest soon expands into an exploration of how people in Lithuania – Jews and non-Jews alike – are engaging with their Nazi and Soviet past in order to move forward into the future.  In the end, she finds hope for a more tolerant future. The book received several national awards.

On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash traces an arc across upheavals and regime changes and across the phases of a woman’s life, making a major contribution to the literature of immigration and resilience.

Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories by Blume Lempel moves between the realistic and the fantastic, the lyrical and the philosophical.  Lempel’s narratives are masterpieces of poetic imagery, suffused with an abiding compassion.  The translation received the Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies from the Modern Language Association, among other awards.

Ellen is a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, Jewish culture, and Yiddish language and literature.  Her Tips for Writers offer advice on many aspects of writing and being a writer.

Ellen’s play, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn, celebrates the spare beauty of a small but important life. It was adapted into a short film that qualified for an Academy Award nomination.

Ellen is a former speechwriter in the Clinton Administration, a former columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and author of two books for working women.  Her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Ha’aretz, Jewish Journal, Hadassah, The Jewish Forward, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, LilithUtne Reader, Polin, and Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies.

Featured Works

See other works by Ellen.