Ever since I was a girl, I had only one career goal: to write for a living—and I've certainly done so! In my long career, I've written a thousand articles for national publications, published 24 editions of the leading college health textbook, and authored fifteen trade books. My latest, MONA LISA: A Life Discovered, is described as "cultural history that reads like a detective novel" by the distinguished author Ross King.
Yet no book has had a greater impact on my life than La Bella Lingua, a true labor of love that opened up a world of new experiences and new friends. Of its many delightful consequences, the most unexpected was an Italian knighthood. In 2011 the President of Italy bestowed on me the title of Cavaliere dell' Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) in recognition of La Bella Lingua as "an invaluable tool for promoting the Italian language." This designation honors foreigners who have enhanced Italy's rapport and friendship with other nations, preserved the Italian spirit, and contributed to its international prestige.
Hailed as "a charming love letter to the language and culture of Italy," La Bella Lingua became a best-seller in the United States, Canada and Australia. Its companion website and twice-weekly blog on Italian have attracted almost a million visits. Recently "Becoming Italian Word by Word" was named "Best Art and Culture blog" in an international competition sponsored by Italy magazine. I've also had the pleasure of presenting La Bella Lingua at consulates, cultural centers, universities, language schools, conferences, and other settings throughout the United States as well as in Toronto and Florence.
In my life as a magazine journalist, I served as a contributing editor for Parade, Ladies Home Journal, Working Mother, and American Health. Among the writing awards I've received are honors from the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the Council for the Advancement of Scientific Education, the National Women's Political Caucus, and the New York City Public Library.
You can find more details about my professional life at my official bio.
The President of the Republic of Italy
has conferred on
Dott.ssa Dianne Mary Plucinnik Hales
l'onorificenze di cavaliere dell' Ordine della Stella
della Solidarietà Italiana
(the honor of Knight of the Order of the
Star of Italian Solidarity)
in recognition of her book
LA BELLA LINGUA
as an "invaluable tool for promoting the Italian language"
You can find more information on this award and its history by clicking here. For photos from the ceremony and reception, click here.