Big Tent: Doug Hitt and Jake Vail, Nathan Smith, Michelle Johnson
Doug Hitt holds an M.A. in Earth Literacy and has studied with eco-philosopher Joanna Macy. For the past 13 years he has facilitated small group conversations in deep ecology and cosmological literacy. Doug is a native Kansan and tends home on the banks of Spring Creek in northwest Douglas County.
Jake Vail lives in the Wakarusa watershed and works as a librarian in Lawrence. A former agricultural researcher, editor, and certified arborist, he has traveled extensively in Kansas and the lower 48. His essays and reviews have appeared in local journals, Wild Earth, The Land Report, and New Farm.
Though Nathan Smith grew up in Kansas, he has lived in Woodstock, Oakland, and New Orleans, and has traveled in India, Nepal, Turkey, and island Southeast Asia. He has worked as a farmer and has campaigned against the Keystone pipeline and other extractive and exploitative industries like fracking and coal. While he has never sold a book, he currently deals letters (A through D plus F) for the University of Kansas, where he is enrolled in the Creative Writing program.
Michelle T. Johnson is a Kansas City-based local and national diversity consultant, speaker and writer.
As a playwright, Johnson has had plays produced in the Barn Players
of Mission, Kansas' "2011 Six By Ten Festival," the 2012 Kansas City
Fringe Festival and by Potluck Productions in 2012. She was selected as
a featured playwright in the Unicorn Theater's Writer Showcase in
February 2013, as a participant in the 2013 Project Playwright 2.0
competition and had her micro-play read at the 2013 World Theater Day
celebration held by Mind The Gap Theater in New York City. She has had
her plays picked and produced for playwriting festivals in Houston,
Texas and Medford, Connecticut. Johnson's play "Wiccans in the 'Hood"
was selected for and produced in the "Midwinter Madness Short Play
Festival" in New York City in February 2013 and the play was the sixth
best-attended show in the 2013 Kansas City Fringe Festival.
Her play "The Negro Whisperer" was in the New Work Series Festival in New York City in October 2013. Her play “Echoes of Octavia” will be produced by KC Melting Pot Theater this August. Also this year, her plays “Trading Places” and “Wiccans in the ’Hood” have been produced by Brainspunk Theater of Philadelphia with "Trading Races: From Rodney King and Paula Deen" being nominated for three awards in the NYC Planet Connections Theater Festival. BrainSpunk Theater has made Johnson their 2015 Playwright-in-Residence and her play "Final Arrangements" will have its World Premiere in May 2015.