We’re excited and so, so pleased to bring you not one but two featured authors this month. Lori Ostlund and Anne Raeff are both powerful and lyric writers, partners for more than 20 years and now, married. Other things you should know about them: they once owned an antique shop called “Two Serious Ladies,” referencing the novel by Jane Bowles, they’re both teachers who work primarily with immigrants and each of them has won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, one of the most coveted short story prizes in America. And, most importantly for Sacramento lovers of great fiction, they’re making their first joint appearance at Stories on Stage Sacramento on May 27,2016.
Among examples of the universal praise for Lori Ostlund‘s 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award-winning collection, The Bigness of the World (newly issued in paperback,) is this from Publisher’s Weekly. “…Ostlund’s artful prose is playfully complex and illuminating, evocative and unsentimental…each piece is sublime.” The collection also won the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the 2009 California Book Award for First Fiction. After the publication of her debut novel After the Parade in September 2015, no less an authority than the New York Times praised it as “a powerful debut…provides considerable pleasure and emotional power.” The novel won starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, was on the “best books of 2015” list for both NPR and Buzzfeed, and was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.
In her praise for Anne Raeff‘s winning collection The Jungle Around Us, legendary Flannery O’Connor Award editor Nancy Zafris explains why she selected the work for the 2015 prize: “A wonderfully mature vision informs the stories of The Jungle Around Us, stories that risk being termed old-fashioned—if old-fashioned means ditching self-consciousness and cleverness and bringing back hard-earned intelligence and historical weight and putting them all under a single multicultural roof. The miracle of these stories is their ultimate simplicity and intimacy even as they weave together numerous global threads.” Anne’s stories and essays have appeared in the New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica, among other places. Her first novel, Clara Mondschein’s Melancholia, was published in 2002. She’s a child of immigrants and much of her writing draws on her family’s history as refugees from war and the Holocaust.
Reading an excerpt from After the Parade is Sacramento actor Ethan Ireland, a multidisciplinary veteran of the film, television and theater trade, with sixteen years as a working professional in both performance and technical roles. The son of noted ‘lit noir’ author Patrick Ireland, Ethan is a writer & director of several short films, and has worked as a voice actor and a performer for both stage and screen since 1995. Most recently he appeared in EMH’s productions of After Hours and An Almost Perfect Person. He has performed at Now Hear This: A Story and Music Performance Series produced by Atim Udoffia.
The short story “Chinese Opera” from Anne Raeff’s The Jungle Around Us will be read by Kristine David, a local actor and musician in Northern California. She has been seen on many Sacramento stages including: B Street Theatre (Provenance, Bob,) Capital Stage (Mauritius, Much Ado About Nothing,) Sacramento Theater Company (Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet) & Big Idea Theatre (Inventing Van Gogh, Complete Female Stage Beauty.)
Now in its seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Featured writers for 2015 included Tobias Wolff, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Adam Johnson, and Naomi Williams. The lineup for 2016 includes Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges, an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re proud of the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and we’re excited to continue to present more fine writing read by actors to Sacramento lovers of literature.
Stories on Stage, with Lori Ostlund and Anne Raeff, Friday, May 27, 2016 at The Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Streets. Doors open at 7PM; readings begin at 7:30. $10 donation suggested. Contact: Sue Staats, Coordinator for Stories on Stage, at firstname.lastname@example.org