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 Southeast Asia. A reprint of the 1897 travelogue on Java led her to the long-overlooked life of its American author, Eliza Scidmore, now the subject of Diana’s first book.
A graduate of Marietta College in her Ohio hometown, Diana got her first professional job in the editorial art department of National Geographic and later returned as a contract writer for several other divisions. In a wide-ranging editorial career, she also worked at The Washington Post, the National Institutes of Health, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and for many freelance clients.
Diana has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri and studied creative nonfiction in Johns Hopkins University’s D.C.-based graduate writing program. In 2011 she was among the writers and editors who founded the online Washington Independent Review of Books.
For her book, she received a Mayborn Fellowship in Biography and the 2017 Hazel Rowley Prize from Biographers International Organization (BIO) for the best proposal for a first biography. Other honors include fellowships from Rotary International and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, and a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Inspired by her longtime research at the Library of Congress, she volunteers as a docent for public tours of its historic Jefferson Building.
Diana lives with her husband, Bruce, in Falls Church, Va.