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Vanessa Diffenbaugh  

Bestselling Novelist and Co-Founder of "The Camellia Network"

Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel, "The Language of Flowers," received the kind of reception authors dream of. Rights to the novel have been sold in 36 countries and the book has enjoyed widespread praise. Vanessa has quickly become a sought after speaker both on the subject of her novel and for 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 The Camellia Network, an organization that assists young adults transition 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 The Camellia Network, Vanessa’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.

Vanessa’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. Upon publication of her novel, there was widespread interest in the subject and she agreed to write an introduction for a new edition of "A Victorian Flower Dictionary" so that readers would have a companion to further their interest in the subject.

Speech 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

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