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Inka Leisma

The distance between Helsinki in southern Finland and Provincetown, Massachusetts is 3921 miles. The waves of the Atlantic ocean continue their endless dance on both shores, keeping me connected to Hazel Hawthorne's life despite the long distance. 

My journey with Hazel started in 2014, when I put my everyday life on hold for a while. My gap year travels took me to the capital of modern bohemia in Europe: Berlin. That's where I first saw Hazel's portrait and got interested in her story. 

I am a political scientist by education, with a Master's degree from the University of Turku, including studies in English philology and communications. For the past twelve years, I have worked as Communications Specialist in corporate communications on three different continents. I consider myself a cosmopolitan.

Over the years, I have combed through numerous letters, tapes, books, articles, census data, photos, old newspapers and public records. I have received valuable help from e.g. the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, New York Public Library, British Library, Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, University of Miami, Freie Universität Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Helsinki University Library, Middleborough and Provincetown public libraries, and many special collections in various other libraries. I have also been granted access to several private collections.

In June 2018, the Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers awarded me a grant in support of the project.