Diana Parsell Writer

Diana Parsell Writer

Diana Parsell Writer

Books & Writing

Great Illustrations in This Children’s Book

Art by Kenard Pak for a letter by Terry Teachout from A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader.

I have a soft spot for beautiful graphic art. And I plan to buy this children’s book — for myself — so I can savor the illustrations (as well as the words). “A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader” contains short pieces by authors and other notable people describing how books have enriched…

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Book Features Writing by Women in WWI

Book "In Their Own Words" on Women in WWI

Note: This blog item was first posted on October 14, 2015. Eliza Scidmore, the subject of my biography in progress, appears in a new book of writings by American women in World War I. Author Elizabeth Foxwell took a very different turn in compiling the anthology. Foxwell has spent much of her career immersed in…

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For Veterans Day, an “All Quiet on Western Front” Sequel

To mark the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I, the Library of Congress is previewing a newly restored film sequel to the classic war movie “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The 1937 film sequel, titled “The Road Back,” follows German soldiers from the Armistice through their return home. The film is…

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Eliza Scidmore on Stage at National Geographic

Woman in kimono with Mt. Fuji backdrop

Eliza Scidmore got top billing on stage Thursday night, March 29, in Washington. National Geographic Live! featured a staged presentation of her writings during the city’s cherry blossom season. I was there, and National Geographic VP Greg McGruder kindly introduced me to the audience as Scidmore’s biographer. I had served as an informal adviser to…

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In St. Louis, Intrepid Women on the Frontier

Brochure Women Writers of Frotier

I had never been to St. Louis until this fall. Funny I should have missed it, as I attended grad school in journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Mizzou classmates and I used to pile into a car and go eat catfish at a tin-ceiling hotel in Booneville. We drove to Kansas City…

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My Book Proposal Wins Hazel Rowley Prize

BIO Hazel Rowley Award winner 2017

I’m grateful to the International Biographers Organization (BIO) for giving me its 2017 Hazel Rowley Prize. I received the award, for the best proposal for a first biography, on May 20 at BIO’s conference in Boston. BIO began around the time I started my book project. The group has been a terrific resource, especially to a…

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‘Railway Man’ a Contrast to Scidmore POW Book

My husband and I recently watched “The Railway Man,” starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. It’s emotionally powerful, and interesting as well in light of my biography of Eliza Scidmore. Her last book was As the Hague Ordains. Written as a thinly disguised novel, it looked at POW conditions in Japan in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese…

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LibriVox Adds Scidmore Writing on Alaska

LibriVox NatGeoMag Vol. 5

Eliza Scidmore has made her debut on LibriVox, the free online service of audio books in the public domain. LibriVox has started adding back volumes of National Geographic, some containing articles by Scidmore. I discovered LibriVox a couple of years ago and am now a big fan. The selections consist of only older works —…

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Robert Caro Stresses ‘Sense of Place’ in Biography

Robert Caro

There’s no greater master of biography writing today than Robert Caro. I recall being mightily impressed with his keynote speech at the 2011 conference of Biographers International Organization (BIO). So I’m grateful to Steve Weinberg, a journalist and biographer (and one of my former journalism profs at the University of Missouri), for flagging this article…

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In Boston, Biographers and a Special Letter

BIO conference 2014 in Boston

Anyone writing life stories has a great resource in Biographers International Organization. The group began five years ago through the efforts of Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McGrath Morris and others to provide collegiality and support in the often-long slog of writing biography. I’ve attended three of BIO’s annual conferences. They seem to get better every…

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