Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Bestselling novelist and co-founder of Camellia Network, assisting foster care youth

  • About Vanessa Diffenbaugh

    Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel The Language of Flowers received the kind of reception authors dream of. Rights to the novel sold in 36 countries and the book enjoyed widespread praise. Diffenbaugh quickly became a sought-after speaker both on the subject of her novel and her work with children. From literary groups to universities to philanthropic organizations focused on the welfare of children, The Language of Flowers has drawn a diverse audience. In addition to the theme of flowers and their meanings, the novel’s central protagonist is a product of the foster care system, a subject that is very close to Diffenbaugh’s heart. A foster parent herself, Diffenbaugh is the co-founder of Camellia Network, an organization that assists young adults transitioning from foster care to adulthood and independence. In The Language of Flowers, Camellia [kuh-meel-yuh] means “My destiny is in your hands.” The network’s name emphasizes the belief in the interconnectedness of humanity.

    In addition to her work with Camellia Network, Diffenbaugh’s past experience working with youth includes her role as the Art Director for the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, administering an educational program for homeless youth at Cottage Housing, managing a mentoring program for foster youth at Wonder Inc. and teaching art to orphaned girls in Mexico.

    Diffenbaugh’s inspiration for the flower theme in The Language of Flowers came after she discovered a copy of a vintage flower dictionary in a bookstore. When the publication of her novel sparked widespread interest in the subject, she agreed to write an introduction for a new edition of A Victorian Flower Dictionary so that readers would have a companion volume—and the opportunity to spread their own messages through the language of flowers.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Language of Flowers: Concepts of family and motherhood

    The Victorian Language of Flowers: History, definitions and the ability of flowers to transform our world

    My Foster Care Journey: The inspiration for The Language of Flowers

  • Video

  • Praise for Vanessa Diffenbaugh

    Praise for The Language of Flowers

    [An] original and brilliant first novel...a mesmerizing storyteller...I would like to hand Vanessa Diffenbaugh a bouquet of bouvardia (enthusiasm), gladiolus (you pierce my heart) and lisianthus (appreciation)...And there is one more sprig I should add to her bouquet: a single pink carnation (I will never forget you).

    Brigitte Weeks, The Washington Post

    Fascinating...Diffenbaugh clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria.

    O: The Oprah Magazine (book of the week)
  • Books by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

  • Media About Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Vanessa Diffenbaugh travels from Newport Beach, CA

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