Valerie Browne Lester is an independent scholar, writer, and translator living in the Boston area. She is the author of Fasten Your Seat Belts! History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin (1995), which is a history of Pan American told in the voices of its cabin crew; and Phiz, The Man Who Drew Dickens (2004), a biography of Hablot Knight Browne, Dickens’s principal illustrator (who was also her great-great-grandfather). Her biography of the great Italian printer Giambattista Bodoni (1710-1813) Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World was published by David Godine in September 2015.

In addition to her books and her translation of Alain-Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes (The Magnificent Meaulnes, 2009), she has written poetry, plays, and articles, including “A Bird’s Eye View of Nepal,” for The Atlantic Monthly.

She has recently completed a biography of Clarence Bicknell, which will be published in May 2018. 

Latest Project - Clarence Bicknell Biography

Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918) was a man of letters, an artist, author, traveller, botanist, archaeologist, pastor, humanist, and Esperantist. 

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Today the value of his pioneering work in several of these disciplines is increasingly appreciated by experts: his recording, cataloguing, and publication of the prehistoric rock engravings of the Vallée de Merveilles, his drawings of the flowering plants of the Riviera, his creation of the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera, and his contribution to the international language Esperanto.

The first full biography of this great man will be published in May 2018.