About Diana

Author Diana Parsell

Photo by Suz Redfearn

Diana Pabst Parsell spent years as a reporter looking for good stories. She stumbled onto a great one a decade ago while living and working in Indonesia. A reprint of the 1897 travelogue Java, the Garden of the East led her to the long-overlooked life of its American author, Eliza Scidmore, now the subject of Diana’s first book.

Born and raised in Ohio, Diana made Washington, D.C., her adopted home soon after college. A graduate of Marietta College and the University of Missouri’s j-school, she has done writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and websites, including National Geographic and The Washington Post. She has also worked as a writer-editor for several major science organizations in Washington and Southeast Asia.

In support of her book in progress, Diana received a Mayborn Fellowship in Biography and the Biographers International Organization’s 2017 Hazel Rowley Prize. Previously, she had fellowships from Rotary International and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. In 2007 Johns Hopkins University named her an outstanding nonfiction graduate of its M.A. in writing program.

Long active in the area’s vibrant literary community, Diana was among the group of writers and editors who founded the online Washington Independent Review of Books in 2011. She is a regular volunteer at the National Book Festival every fall, and for the past decade has been a volunteer docent for public tours of the Library of Congress, an outgrowth of her extensive research there.

Diana lives with her husband, Bruce, in Falls Church, Va.