Author Talks

Diana Parsell is a highly skilled speaker who has delivered author talks, both in-person and online, to many diverse audiences. In an extension of her longtime research at the Library of Congress, she also employs her storytelling skills as a docent for public tours of the library’s majestic Jefferson Building.

Author talks, supplemented by historical images, can be customized to present Eliza Scidmore’s story in the context of topics such as:

  • America’s pioneering female journalists
  • nineteenth-century travel
  • life in Gilded Age Washington
  • the history and symbolism of Japan’s cherry blossoms
  • the origin of Washington’s cherry trees

Visit the Events page of this website for links to sample presentations.

Book Clubs

Members of book clubs have found Diana’s book Eliza Scidmore: The Trailblazing Journalist Behind Washington’s Cherry Trees a source of lively discussion on issues such as women’s advancement and other historically significant developments in the dynamic period from America’s Gilded Age to World War I.

Click here for a Discussion Guide on the book.

Click here for an Author Q&A.

Craft Workshops

Over the years, Diana has shared her expertise on nonfiction writing and editing in workshops and short courses on a range of topics. In 2023 she presented her latest workshop, “Shaping Your Book of Narrative Nonfiction,” at the New York conference of Biographers International Organization and at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md.

Interested in arranging a talk or workshop? Contact Diana here with a brief note on what kind of presentation you have in mind and the desired time frame.


“The Asian American Forum sends a heartfelt thank you for a wonderful presentation. It was timely, informative, and also lots of fun. I have heard from many people, some saying it was the best talk that our group has ever presented. How’s that for a nice compliment?”
— Molly Spitzer Frost, Asian American Forum in Washingon, D.C., March 22, 2024

“Thank you so much for the outstanding presentation you made today to members of Welcome to Washington! I heard so many wonderful comments about it from those who attended. Eliza was clearly an exceptional woman, and you did such a great job in telling her story. It was fascinating to hear what you had to do to research source material.”
— Judy Page, Welcome to Washington International Club at Hillwood Museum, March 12, 2024

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your presentation on Saturday! It was SO interesting—everyone in attendance was raving about it.”
— Lesley Tourigny, AAUW-VA Northern District, March 9, 2024, talk in Alexandria, Va.

“The workshop was amazing and extremely helpful. It made me rethink the structure of my book. Not only was [the instructor] knowledgeable on the topic, but she was able to speak to all with different book ideas so the class was useful to everyone.”
—Francise Dyson, participant in “Shaping Your Book of Narrative Nonfiction” at the Writer’s Center, November 2023

“It was inspirational to hear you speak, and your research was amazing. … We learned so much history in the story of this woman who lived beyond the expectations of her time. I can’t remember so much discussion and no distraction to other things when we met to discuss your book.”
—Linda Sours, book club moderator in Grand Junction, Col.

“Our conversation with you has been the talk of the town this afternoon in Glacier Bay headquarters. …  The fact that we went from thinking, ‘Eliza must have just been some wealthy heiress,’ to now knowing that she was a world-traveled, independent, indefatigable start-up, reminds me of the power of research to unearth voices of forgotten figures.”
—Caitlin Campbell, seasonal park ranger at Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

(for Oxford University Press, use code AAFLYG6 for 30% discount)