Biographers, From Superstar to Novice, Gather in New York

Molly Peacock and Diana Parsell

How do you go about writing and publishing a biography when you’ve never done anything like that before? I owe Biographers International Organization (BIO) a lot in getting me to the finish line of my newly published book. For years, biography was a neglected stepchild of the literary world. A mashup of history, literature, area…

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“Today” Show Airs My Eliza Scidmore Story

Pretty amazing experience for this first-time author, when I was interviewed for NBC’s “Today” show in a program that aired March 30. It spotlighted the life and career of Eliza Scidmore, the subject of my new book, and her critical role in bringing Japanese cherry blossoms to Washington a century ago. You can see the…

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Major Book Event: Meetup With Taft Descendent

flyer for Cherry Blossom Festival luncheon

In events surrounding the launch of my book on Eliza Scidmore, it was thrilling—and great fun—to share the stage with presidential great-granddaughter Patricia Taft. We were the featured speakers at a sold-out “Still Blooming Luncheon” on March 23 at the University Club in Washington. The event, sponsored by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, featured a…

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Q&A: On Ups and Downs of Writing a Book

I’ve been an independent writer and editor a long time. But no one I know does a better job of running a professional writing business than Paula Tarnapol Whitacre. She kindly devoted space this month in her newsletter to interviewing me about my new book. Here’s the link to read it. Paula seems to quickly…

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Scidmore Biography Set for March 1 Release

Scidmore book cover

The book, published by Oxford University Press, is set for launch in U.S. bookstores on March 1, 2023. If you order from Oxford’s website (at www.oup.com), you can use the promotion code AAFLYG6 to get a 30% discount. Here are some other sources: Bookshop.org benefits independent bookstores with the convenience of online shopping. Politics &…

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Recalling My Fabulous Glacier Bay Research Trip

Caitlin Campbell Glacier Bay

(Reposted from August 2018) An email out of the blue from U.S. park ranger Caitlin Campbell sparked my first trip to Alaska this summer, capped by a special experience at Glacier Bay. Caiti first contacted me a year ago after stumbling across the website and blog I started to chronicle my progress on a biography…

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Scidmore’s Alaska Travel Airs on BBC

Thanks to the brief posting of a video on YouTube, I was able to see my cameo appearance on BBC2’s “Great American Railroad Journeys.” My interview with the program’s host, Michael Portillo, took place in Juneau in the summer of 2018. [Note: The online video has since been removed.] I was in Alaska at the…

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Eliza Scidmore Sports a New Look

Eliza Scidmore in woodcut

On a research run through the Internet I come across this woodcut illustration of my book subject, Eliza Scidmore. It was made by an L.A. artist named Bijou Karman for an online National Geographic series on “21 Women Travelers Who Changed the World.” You can see the list of women and their portraits here. I…

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The Englishman Who Saved Cherry Trees

Book cover "The Sakura Obsession," by Naoko Abe

Cherry blossom viewers love the variety known as “yoshino.” The white petals tinged in pink make up the clouds that encircle the Tidal Basin in Washington every spring. In “The Sakura Obsession,” the author Naoko Abe shows a flip side of that enthusiasm. Her new book tells the story of an Englishman so concerned about…

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Great Art in This Book for Kids, and Other Readers

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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