What better way to cap off the sixth season of Stories on Stage Sacramento than to welcome Davis writer Naomi Williams as our featured writer for October. If you’ve attended our event in past years, you may have heard some of the tales that eventually became Naomi’s stunning debut novel, Landfalls, published in August to much acclaim by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Based on the ill-fated 18th century LaPerouse naval expedition, the novel was termed a “seductive page-turner” by the Wall Street Journal “dazzling” and “a bona fide masterpiece” by The Seattle Times, among many rave reviews. To hear these stories, and to see this work grow over the years, has been a pleasure and a privilege. Lucky me – I got to read the novel the first time just for the sheer pleasure of it, and then a second time to select the segment to be read! Every section is unique and wonderful and smart and beautifully crafted. I had a tough time deciding, but in the end selected the chapter “In The Mangroves,” which occurs toward the end of the expedition and concerns the mysterious death of one of the expedition priests.
Naomi’s fiction has also appeared in journals such as A Public Space, One Story, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Zoetrope All-Story. In 2009, she received a Pushcart Prize and a Best American Short Story Honorable Mention. Naomi has an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis, and lives with her family in Davis, California, where she’s started work on her second book, a novel about the early 20th-century Japanese poet Yosano Akiko. You can read more about Naomi at her author page, http://naomijwilliams.com/
Also appearing with Naomi is Elise Winn. Her stories have been published in American Short Fiction, Hobart, Indiana Review, Granta Online, and elsewhere, and have won awards from magazines such as The Iowa Review, Zoetrope: All Story, and Fairy Tale Review.She was a finalist for the 2012 Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize and chosen as runner-up in Black Warrior Review and Third Coast’s 2014 fiction contests. In April 2014 she was a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook. Raised in Missouri, Elise now lives in Davis, California, where she’s at work on a collection of short stories, Cloud, Egg, Bird, Box, and a novel.
Reading “In The Mangroves” from Landfalls is Blair Leatherwood, a veteran Sacramento actor and Stories on Stage favorite. He has over forty years of experience in the theater, with numerous film and commercial credits. He recently worked on Spike Lee’s “Livin’ Da Dream”, a segment of the NBA 2K16 video game. He also has years of experience with the Standardized Patient program at UCD Medical Center and is one of the audio describers for blind and visually impaired patrons of California Musical Theatre
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Reading “Cloud, Egg, Bird, Box” by Elise Winn is Jessica Laskey. Just returned to her hometown, Sacramento, after a year spent in Paris, Jessica is an Equity actress whose favorite roles include Sally Bowles in Cabaret (UC Berkeley), Mae in Reefer Madness (Artistic Differences), Jenny in Threepenny Opera (California Stage) and several productions with the Sacramento Theatre Company. Jessica is also a freelance writer for Inside Publications, The Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Magazine and is currently working on a new book, This is Sacramento, for Inside Publications.
Currently wrapping up its sixth season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing audience. Beginning with the 200+ people who attended the January kickoff event featuring Tobias Wolff, with readings by Janis Stevens and James Wheatley, enthusiastic attendees have heard readings from the work of Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson, and now, debut novelist and Davis writer Naomi Williams, who is moving from “emerging” writer to “featured” writer status with the publication of her brilliant novel. We’re proud of our 2015 season – and look forward to presenting more fine writing, well told, to Sacramento lovers of literature.
Stories on Stage, with Naomi Williams and Elise Winn, Friday, October 30, 2015 at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Streets, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM; readings begin at 7:30. $5 donation suggested. Contact: Sue Staats, Coordinator for Stories on Stage, at firstname.lastname@example.org