Ellis, Jamellah

views updated

ELLIS, Jamellah

PERSONAL:

Female; married Malik Ellis (a lawyer); children: Jair (son). Education: Spelman College, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1993; Northwestern University School of Law, J.D.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Bowie, MD. Agent—c/o Strivers Row Publicity, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and attorney. U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, judicial clerk to the Honorable Andre M. Davis; Arnold & Porter, Washington, DC, attorney; Saul Ewing LLP, Baltimore, MD, attorney, 2003—. Cofounder of All the While Reconcile (publishing company).

MEMBER:

American Bar Association, Supreme Court Historical Society, Maryland State Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Honorable Earl Warren Legal Scholarship/NAACP Legal Defense Award; Gold Pen Award, 2002, for That Faith, That Trust, That Love.

WRITINGS:

That Faith, That Trust, That Love (novel), Strivers Row (New York, NY), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jamellah Ellis is a writer of Christian fiction who has been writing since she was seven years old. In 2001, Ellis quit her job in a prestigious Washington law firm when she and her husband founded the publishing company All the While Reconcile, where her debut novel, That Faith, That Trust, That Love, was the first title to be published. It was then published by New York-based Strivers Row.

The plot of That Faith, That Trust, That Love involves three generations of women. The main character, thirty-year-old Marley, is a successful attorney with a prestigious Atlanta law firm. She is engaged to Gerrard, whose father is one of the city's most prominent real estate developers. Pam and Ma Grand—Marley's mother and grandmother, respectively—are happy for her but eventually criticize her marriage decision. Marley has her own doubts about her fiancé, and soon several events test her religious faith: she catches her fiancé cheating, her mother is diagnosed with cancer, and in church she gets to know Lazarus, a deeply religious and handsome coach. She and Lazarus soon fall in love. The story describes how her faith and spirituality provide strength, guidance, and comfort in the face of these challenges.

Critics largely agreed that the novel manages to bring its religious point across despite artistic flaws. A critic for Kirkus Reviews found the novel "about as subtle as a brick, but with gospel-tinged enthusiasm that's contagious." In Publishers Weekly, a reviewer wrote that "the novel is … marred by stock characters and some stilted dialogue." But the reviewer added that the novel was written "with warmth and earnestness."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 2003, Lillian Lewis, review of That Faith, That Trust, That Love, p. 971.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of That Faith, That Trust, That Love, p. 160.

Publishers Weekly, March 31, 2003, review of That Faith, That Trust, That Love, pp. 40-41.

Washington Post, July 26, 2001, Natalie Hopkinson, "Writer Follows Her Heart: Christian Novelist Left Prestigious D.C. Law Firm," section T, p. 23.

ONLINE

Jamellah Ellis Home Page,www.jamellahellis.com (June 29, 2004).

OTHER

Tavis Smiley Show, National Public Radio, July 21, 2003, Tavis Smiley, transcript of interview with Jamellah Ellis.*