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The Vaudevillian Ghosts of Liberty
Beyond the marquee, the stars of vaudeville beckon, revealing a world of ghosts and glamor, insult and entertainment, bigotry and inclusivity.
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About the Journalist
Journalist and author Melissa Hart (she/her) has trained owls for educational presentations and taught environmental studies classes while dressed like a giant raccoon.
After earning a Bachelor’s from the College of Creative Studies at U.C. Santa Barbara and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, she taught children and adults with developmental disabilities, then taught feature and travel writing at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. These days, she’s an instructor for Southern New Hampshire University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. She lives in a cottage among oaks and firs in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband and daughter and a plethora of cats, chickens, fish, plus one long-suffering terrier.
Melissa’s writing has appeared in Smithsonian, National Geographic Kids, The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, Hemispheres, Slate, Longreads, and numerous other publications. She’s the author of two middle-grade novels — Avenging the Owl and Daisy Woodworm Changes the World, both of which include a main character with Down syndrome based on her brother. She also wrote Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens, as well as two memoirs — Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood and Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family.
In her free time, Melissa loves to explore Oregon’s wild places and volunteer for backcountry ski patrol. She’s an Oregon Master Naturalist; you can frequently find her down on her hands and knees in the mud, peering through her magnifying glass at slime molds.
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