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Rehak, Melanie

Rehak, Melanie

PERSONAL: Female.

ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Agent—The Wylie Agency, 250 W. 57th St., Ste. 2114, New York, NY 10107.

CAREER: Poet and critic.

AWARDS, HONORS: Tukman fellowship, New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

WRITINGS:

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, Harcourt Brace (Orlando, FL), 2005.

Contributor of poetry and reviews to periodicals, including Paris Review, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Partisan Review, New Republic, Vogue, and Nation.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A book of poetry.

SIDELIGHTS: Melanie Rehak is a poet and critic who was inspired to create her first full-length book, Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by her own devotion to the "Nancy Drew" mystery series. Rehak was intrigued by the way the series developed over time, from its debut in the 1930s to the newer installments of the 1960s and 1970s. Using fellowship funds from the New York Public Library, she researched the true story of Nancy Drew's creation and the two women, Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, who played the most important roles in writing and popularizing the series. In an interview on the Harcourt Books Web site, Rehak said: "The Nancy story couldn't be told without both Harriet and Mildred…. Harriet and Mildred were such fascinating people, and seeing them make their way through the times in which they lived is really inspirational"

A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that Girl Sleuth presents "the true story behind the creation of the resilient fictional girl detective" by means of a "breezy social history." A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that Rehak "invigorates all the players in the Drew story, and it's truly fun to see behind the scenes."

In her online interview with Harcourt Books, Rehak maintained that Nancy Drew's enduring popularity, spanning decades and changing trends in American society, reflects the fact that the character "represents the epitome of intelligence and control over what seem to be uncontrollable situations." The author added, "I think that kind of character has endless, timeless appeal."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, review of Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, p. 724.

Publishers Weekly, June 20, 2005, review of Girl Sleuth, p. 68.

ONLINE

Harcourt Books Web site, http://www.harcourtbooks.com/ (September 28, 2005), interview with Rehak.

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