Biography

Diane Armstrong

Diane was born in Poland and arrived in Australia with her parents in 1948. She was seven years old when she decided to become a writer. Her first article, about teaching at a Blackboard Jungle school in London, was published in The Australian Womens Weekly in 1965. This was the beginning of a hugely successful career as a freelance journalist. Over three thousand of her investigative articles, personal experience stories, profiles, and travel stories have been published in newspapers and magazines such as Readers Digest, Vogue, The Bulletin, Harpers Bazaar, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, The Guardian, and The Age. Her articles have also appeared in major publications in the UK, Canada, Poland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Holland and South Africa.

Over the years she has received numerous awards for journalism, including the Pluma de Plata awarded by the Government of Mexico for the best article written about that country, and the Gold Award given by the Pacific Asia Tourist Association. In 1993 she received an award for an investigative article about Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease. In 1998, she received the George Munster Award for Independent Journalism.

That year she fulfilled her dream of writing a book. She received a grant from Australia Council to write Mosaic, a Chronicle of Five Generations, which was short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, as well as for the National Biography Award. In 2001 it was published in the United States and Canada by St Martin’s Press, and was selected as one of the year’s best memoirs by Amazon.com. It was published in the UK in 2018.

In 2000 she received her second grant from Australia Council to write The Voyage of Their Life, the Story of the SS Derna and its Passengers, which was published by HarperCollins, and was shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Her first novel Winter Journey was published by HarperCollins in 2004 and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Literary Award. It has been published in Poland, Israel, and the United States. Her second novel Nocturne, won the Society of Women Writers’ award for Fiction. It was published in the UK and US in 2018. Her novel Empire Day, set in postwar Sydney, was published by HarperCollins in 2011.

Diane lives in Sydney, as do her children, Justine and Jonathan, and her grand-daughters Maya, Sarah, and Allie.

She is a member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Society of Women Writers, and the MEAA.