In Tomboyland, Melissa Faliveno traverses everything from working-class communities to queerness

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Melissa Faliveno is a writer, editor, and teacher. She’s been a musician, roller derby skater, and alt-weekly reporter. She’s a writer’s writer. Whether it was covering the local alternative scene in her native Wisconsin or cohosting Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast, Faliveno has touched nearly every aspect of the literary world.

Now she turns her attention to an essay collection that weaves in and out of her childhood and teen years as she questions queerness and girlhood. The collection, Tomboyland, also explores the working class and touches upon nature. Her essays start with a very specific scope then widen to make readers ask tough questions about their lives.

Adam Vitcavage is joined by Melissa Faliveno to discuss her debut essay collection Tomboyland. The two chat creative non-fiction, teaching young writers, and Roller Derby names.

Please consider donating to an organization that helps fight tyranny in America of your choosing. I’m choosing to highlight the Okra Project, is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home-cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People wherever we can reach them. Visit them at

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Thank you to Rocky Collin for letting me use their song “What Is It” for this podcast. Follow the band at

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