Nebraska Authors

Mary Bray Pipher

Born 1947 Springfield, MO (USA)

Born in the Ozarks and raised in rural Nebraska, Mary Pipher grew up loving to read, write, swim and spend times outdoors with her friends and family. Pipher is a clinical psychologist and author of nine books, including the 1994 New York Times bestseller Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls which takes a hard look at the many societal pressures facing adolescent girls, and offers a therapist's perspective on the many issues that arise as young girls attempt to define themselves. Pipher is a community organizer and activist for many causes including the experience of refugees and the preservation of her state's environment. In The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, Pipher looks deeply into the effects of modern society and global warming. Mary Pipher currently lives in Lincoln with her family and enjoys doing the same things she loved growing up.

Pipher and her daughter, Sara Pipher Gilliam of Hamilton, Ontario, have collaborated on a 2019 update of Reviving Ophelia that takes account of new developments, such as the impact on girls of social media, and new forms of economic, social and environmental crises that influence their mental health and identities.

Places Lived

Lincoln, NE

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Food Addiction; Adolescent Issues; Family Life; Aging; Refugees; Memoir


Concordia High School, Concordia, KS
Undergraduate Studies, University of Kansas
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, 1969, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, 1977, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


Clinical Psychologist
Commentator for Nebraska Public Radio

Places Worked

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE


Nebraska 150 Books Honor , 2017, The Middle of Everywhere

“150 Notable Nebraskans,” Number 102 on the Lincoln Journal Star Sesquicentennial List of Significant Nebraskans
Nebraska Literary Heritage Association’s Literary Heritage Award, 2014

Reviving Ophelia was on the New York Times Bestsellers' list for three years

Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductee, 2022


Studied writing with William Kloefkorn
Prairie Trout Writing Group


Hunger Pains: The American Woman's Tragic Quest for Thinness. 1987.
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. 1994.
The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families. 1996.
Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders. 1999.
The Middle of Everywhere: The World's Refugees Come to Our Town. 2002.
Letters to a Young Therapist. 2003. (Reissued 2016)
Writing to Change the World. 2006.
Seeking Peace: Chronicles Of the Worst Buddhist in the World. 2009.
The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture. 2013.
Reviving Ophelia 25th Anniversary Edition: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. 2019.
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age. 2019.
A Life in Light. 2022.

In October 2017 Mary Pipher was one of the authors to read their work in an Ames Reading Series program, which can be viewed here:

In May 2023, Mary and the other members of Prairie Trout Writing Group appeared in an Ames Reading Series program and discussion:

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Mary Bray Pipher

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)