Press Release

B&H to release authorized Elisabeth Elliot biography based on unpublished, private journals by bestselling author Ellen Vaughn


Jun 8th

B&H Publishing is proud to announce the forthcoming release of an authorized biography of one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century, Elisabeth Elliot.

In writing “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot,”New York Times” bestselling author Ellen Vaughn used Elliot’s private, unpublished journals and candid interviews with her family and friends to paint the adventures and misadventures God used to shape one of the most influential women in modern church history.

“I grew up admiring Elisabeth Elliot as a writer and missionary hero. She was articulate, tall, brave and rather severe. No fluff. I respected her greatly, but I wasn’t sure I liked her much,” Vaughn said. “Little did I know that I’d one day become her biographer, reading her private journals and writing her story. I laughed. I wept. I saw the radical roots of her self-discipline, but also her playfulness, her love of nature, her passion and her sense of irony and humor. I still admire her, but now I like her a lot.”

The late Elliot (1926-2015) was a prolific Christian author and speaker whose first husband, Jim Elliot (1927-1956), was one of five missionaries killed as they sought to make contact with the Waodani Indians (an unreached people in Ecuador known for their violence). Soon after, Elisabeth and her then two-year-old daughter Valerie moved among the same people, spending two years sharing the Gospel with and befriending those who killed her husband.

“We could not be more excited to publish ‘Becoming Elisabeth Elliot’ from bestselling biographer, Ellen Vaughn,” said Mary Wiley, vice president of marketing at B&H. “Vaughn’s exclusive use of Elisabeth’s never-before-published journals allows Elisabeth to pour out of every word. The faithfulness of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot have encouraged the faith of millions through books such as ‘Through Gates of Splendor,’ ‘Passion and Purity’ and ‘Shadow of the Almighty. 

“But long before these books were written, God was already at work in the life of Elisabeth to cultivate faith and commitment to him. This book is sure to challenge us all to live as Elisabeth lived: radically surrendered to God, no matter the cost.”

After her return to the U.S., Elisabeth began a speaking and writing ministry, writing over 25 books and eventually becoming the first female bestselling Christian author and one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century.

“Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” shows the story of a hilarious, brilliant, witty, self-deprecating, sensitive, radical and surprisingly relatable person who was utterly submitted to doing God’s will, no matter how high the cost. For Elliot, the central question was not, “How does this make me feel?” but simply, “Is this true?” If so, then the next question was, “What do I need to do about it to obey God?”

“‘Becoming Elisabeth Elliot’ is the story of Elisabeth’s early years. It’s full of colorful characters and some pretty wild jungle adventures, a portrait of how God shaped this young woman to become an authentic modern heroine. It’s also a story, I think, of how God can work in the joys, tragedies and ordinary days in all our lives, causing us to become more like him,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn is a bestselling author and speaker who has written or co-written 23 books, having collaborated with authors such as the late Charles Colson. She began working on the biography two years ago and did extensive research to carefully detail Elliot’s early years with accuracy.

B&H will support “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” with a national marketing and publicity campaign and a preorder offering. For more information, visit


Ellen Vaughn is a “New York Times” bestselling author and speaker who has written or co-written 23 books. Former vice president of executive communications at Prison Fellowship, she collaborated with the late Chuck Colson on a number of his seminal works. She speaks at conferences, often travels to interview Christ-followers in hostile parts of the world and serves on the board of directors for ICM, the global church developer. With degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Richmond, Ellen lives in northern Virginia with husband Lee, a regional pastor for McLean Bible Church, a daughter and two grandchildren and one clueless dog. She enjoys reading, hiking, drinking coffee and staring pensively at the ocean.