UBC Alumni

UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 7 | Jul.
3, 2003

Ellen Schwartz, MFA’88

What do Sheryl Crow, Sting and Tobey Maguire have in common?
They all practice yoga and they all appear in Ellen Schwartz’
new book I Love Yoga. The book, her tenth, is aimed at teens
and pre-teens, and is an introduction to yoga: where it comes
from, how it works, famous people who do it and why it’s
good to do, along with some basic instruction. It follows
her other how-to book for kids, I’m a Vegetarian.

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, she and husband
Bill came to Canada in 1972 as part of the back-to-the-land
movement and settled in the West Kootenays, built a cabin,
grew a garden, raised honeybees and burned wood for heat.
Trained as a teacher, she taught special ed., elementary school
and environmental education, then began educational writing.
She soon turned to fiction.

In 1984, she enrolled in the Creative Writing MFA program
at UBC, and in ’87 published her first Starshine! novel,
a teen-oriented book about a stubborn girl and her oddball
parents. She has since published two more Starshine books.

She has written several other children’s books, including
Mr. Belinsky’s Bagels, and is working on Emma’s
Birds, about a little girl, her older Japanese neighbour,
and their fascination with birds. She’s also working
on a historical novel set in Brooklyn, New York, in the late
1940s, against the backdrop of Jackie Robinson’s entry
into baseball’s major leagues. She says she’s learning
more about baseball than she ever thought possible.

Like most fiction writers, Ellen does other things for money.
She and her husband run a communications consulting company,
and she teaches creative writing at Simon Fraser University
and Douglas College. She has also written dozens of articles
for national magazines, the latest being “To Walk Again,”
about advances in spinal cord research, for the Spring, 2003
issue of Trek Magazine.