Mary Relindes Ellis was born in Glidden, Wisconsin. After attending a business school to obtain certification as a legal secretary, Ellis then went on to get a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis on minority and womens literature. Throughout her life she has worked at a number of positions: cleaning cabins at an upscale resort; assisting her mother, who was a public health nurse; working as an administrative staff support member for entomologists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, archaeologists, anthropologists, engineers, architects, and as the associate administrator in the English Department at the University of Minnesota. She currently works in another position at the University of Minnesota. Mary formerly owned a 100-acre farm, co-operated a Christmas wreath business, and grew local genotype prairie seed for prairie restoration. She graduated with an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2009.
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