Nash holds a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is the author of several acclaimed books. A feature writer for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and USA Weekend, Nash was named the Society of Professional Journalists' National Member of the Year in 1994.
In 1977, Nash's job afforded her the opportunity to become one of the journalists to view the remains of Elvis Presley.
In 1978, Nash published a biography of Dolly Parton, which included material gathered from a several-day long interview with Parton. The biography, Dolly, was published just as Parton reached mainstream appeal outside of the country music world, via her now-famous pop-music crossover; it has been reprinted several times in the years since. Nash has closely followed Parton's career, having also written numerous additional magazine articles about her and has reviewed a number of Parton's albums.
In 1986 Nash received much critical acclaim for her book on Jessica Savitch titled Golden Girl: The Story of Jessica Savitch. The book was the basis for the 1996 motion picture Up Close & Personal starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as a made-for-television movie named "Almost Golden", starring Sela Ward. In the 1990s Nash began researching the life of Elvis Presley in order to write a book. Although there were already several hundred Presley books on the market, her 1995 book Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia provided what Entertainment Weekly called "stunning allegations." As a result of Nash being able to get the collaboration of employees Marty Lacker, Lamar Fike, and Presley's first cousin Billy Smith who lived and worked with Presley throughout his life, she provided a look at Presley not previously published. The book was praised by many but was also vilified by fans because of its unflattering portrait of the performer.
Colonel Tom Parker
Her research into Presley led to a second book on Colonel Tom Parker. While covering Presley's death, Alanna Nash had seen what most of the throng of reporters there at the time considered as somewhat bizarre decorum by Parker when he came to the funeral dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and baseball cap. For her 1995 book, Nash had interviewed Colonel Parker but her examination into his life kept unfolding with so many twists and turns that it led to six years of exhaustive research including travel to his birthplace Breda in the Netherlands for documents and interviews. Her book, The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley, was published on July 15, 2003 to extraordinary acclaim with publications such as Billboard magazine calling it a "classic of music industry reporting". Other very positive reviews in the U.S. came from The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, Variety magazine, Publishers Weekly and numerous media organizations. In Great Britain, Mojo music magazine said her book was "the most incisive and comprehensive look at the life of the elusive Colonel available" and the reviewer for The Observer lauded the book as "perhaps the most thoroughly researched music book ever written" — before adding that "sadly most of the story has been told before. Nash simply adds layer after layer of padding."
For her acclaimed exposé on Colonel Parker, Alanna Nash was voted one of the "Heavy 100 of Country Music" by Esquire magazine and earned the 2004 CMA Media Achievement Award and the 2004 Belmont Book Award.
- Baby Let's Play House: Elvis Presley an the Women Who Loved Him (2010) – HarperCollins
- The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley (2003) – Simon & Schuster, Inc.
- Behind Closed Doors: Talking with the Legends of Country Music (2003) – Cooper Square Press
- Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia (1995) – HarperCollins - (Contributors: Billy Smith, Marty Lacker, Lamar Fike)
- Golden Girl: The Story of Jessica Savitch (1988) – E. P. Dutton
- Dolly: The Biography (1978) – Random House