I’m Diana Pabst Parsell, a writer, editor and journalist now wrapping up my first book—a biography of 19th-century journalist and world traveler Eliza Scidmore. It’s been a labor of love, after I stumbled onto her untold story while working in Southeast Asia.
Like Scidmore, I’m a native of the Midwest who made Washington, D.C., my adopted home. Books and reading had a great impact on my early life in small-town Ohio. I knew I wanted to explore the broader world. My travels eventually included destinations such as Haiti, South Africa and Namibia, Brazil and far reaches of Indonesia.
I’m a generalist at heart, reflected in my experience as a reporter, copy editor, science writer and publication project manager. I’ve worked for National Geographic, The Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and for the National Institutes of Health, American Association for the Advancement of Science and other science organizations. My writing has appeared in a wide range of publications and websites.
A passionate advocate of continuing education, I have a liberal arts degree from Marietta College; a publication specialist certificate from George Washington University; and M.A. degrees from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Johns Hopkins University. Awards for my book project include a Mayborn Fellowship in Biography and the Biographers International Organization’s Hazel Rowley Prize. Previously, I had fellowships from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and Rotary International, and a writing residency at VCCA.
Until Covid-related disruptions, my favorite volunteer activity was giving public tours at the Library of Congress, which I did for a decade as an outgrowth of my many years of research at the library. I also love speaking on Eliza Scidmore and Washington’s cherry trees to diverse audiences.
I currently live with my my husband, Bruce, in Falls Church, VA.
“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”