Mary Ellen Campagna was born and reared in Northern Virginia. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and Liberal Art Studies at Hollins University in 2000/’02, and did graduate work in education at the University of Virginia. For several decades she was a school teacher and a freelance journalist. Campagna taught in three states and served as lead foreign teacher at a private school in South Korea. During that time, she traveled to China and Japan, as well. After returning from Asia, she became a QMHP; she counseled both adults and teens with mental health problems and won the Media Award from the Montgomery County Mental Health Association for a fictional short story she wrote for the Roanoker Magazine about her own depression under the pen name, Anne Pryce.
In 2005, Campagna wrote and published, Unalet P. Zipley, a Y/A novel that is still for sale on Amazon. That book became a collector’s item and was translated into French and Chinese. In 2019, she wrote and published a memoir titled The Blue Velvet Glove, no longer for sale on Amazon. She also produced Sammy Gales, an unlikely witch, a book that is no longer for sale.
The author’s history of covering city council and community meetings for newspapers in the Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia led to her research on racism in the area. She had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a child and was there in 1963 to witness his “I have a Dream Speech.” She also researched environmental racism while teaching in South Carolina.