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In 1963, 10-year-old Mary Badham lost the Academy Award for best supporting actress as Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird" to Patty Duke, who played Helen Keller in the "The Miracle Worker."

Forty-six years later, Badham is still traveling internationally to lecture about the book and film that shaped her childhood and her future. She carries the same message of racial equality that was imparted in the book that is read second only to the Bible in the United States.

Badham is slated to host the fifth annual "Virginia Arts and Letters Live" this month. Directed by author and actress Irene Ziegler, the event includes staged readings of short stories by local writers, such as "The Death of the Short Story" by David Stevens; "Virginia in the Window" by Hal Bennett and "A Pirate's Life for Me" by Ryan Effgen. March 29 at 8 p.m. at the Empire Theatre. $10-$25. Call 344-8040 or visit

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