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Virginia Morell
Photograph by Virginia Morell

Virginia Morell

Virginia Morell, author of “Biodiversity” in the February 1999 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, has worked as a science writer for the past 20 years. She’s joined biologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, and other scientists on expeditions from Kenyan deserts to Amazonian forests.

She began by studying literature, earning a B.A. from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and an M.A. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 1973 she moved to Ethiopia to teach composition and literature at Haile Selassie I University. “I stayed in Ethiopia for two years,” she says, “developing a love for Africa and travel—and a strong desire to write about my experiences.”

Upon returning to the United States, she worked for a computer company while pursuing her writing. She contributes to Science, Discover, International Wildlife, and many other publications. Morell made her NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC debut with “Amelia Earhart” in January 1998.

In 1995 Simon & Schuster published Morell’s Ancestral Passions. This biography of the Leakey family, whose members gained fame for their anthropological discoveries, was recognized by the New York Times as one of that year’s notable books. She is currently working with Richard Leakey on a memoir of his work as director of the Kenya Wildlife Service.