Tag Archives: Sacramento Poetry Center

July at Stories on Stage Sacramento: Mothers, Daughters, Earthquakes, Aftershocks

Maureen O'Leary wanket 4In October of 1989, Maureen O’Leary was a student at UC Santa Cruz, a “cranky nineteen-year-old with very few friends, very little passion for anything or anyone.”  At 5:03 on October 17, she was at her job at the Ace Hardware store in downtown Santa Cruz when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck and the building collapsed. She ducked under a desk and was spared: several other people in the same building were not. The event changed her instantly, and inspired the fictional narrative of her newly published novel The Ghost Daughter (Coffeetown Press,) in which the earthquake triggers an aftershock of discovery for two mothers and a long-ago abandoned daughter.   Advance praise for The Ghost Daughter  includes this from National Book Award finalist Karen Bender: “Maureen O’Leary excavates her characters’ hearts with precise honesty, exploring the ways connections between mothers and daughters, friends and lovers stretch, break, endure. A beautiful and moving book.”  Maureen is the Stories on Stage Sacramento featured writer for July, and you can read her harrowing account of survival in her blog https://maureenolearyauthor.com/2016/07/01/the-day-i-died/. She’s also the author of the novels How to be Manly and The Arrow, She won Heyday Books’ Sacramento Valley Writing Contest for Poetry, and her short stories and poetry appear in Esopus, Night Train Journal, Brackish Vol. 2, Revolution John, Prick of the Spindle, The Gold Man Review, and in Shade Mountain Press’ anthology The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women. She’s been featured in Sacramento Magazine, teaches at Christian Brothers High School, and lives in Sacramento with her husband and two daughters

Krista MinardAppearing with Maureen is editor and fiction writer Krista Minard. Krista’s short story “Resurgence” focuses on an earthquake of a more subtle kind: a memory that haunts a mother, who can’t separate it from fears for her pre-teen daughter. . Since 1994, Krista has been editor of Sacramento Magazine and of several bridal publications. As a fiction writer, her short stories and essays have been published in Susurrus, Paper Wings and Soul of the Narrator. She attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers fiction workshop in 2011. She lives in Folsom with her husband, two nearly-grown daughters and two black cats.

Elise Marie HodgeReading an excerpt from The Ghost Daughter will be Sacramento actress Elise Marie Hodge, a Stories on Stage favorite and owner of EMH Productions. a company dedicated to putting
time and energy into creative work as a producer, director, actor, and writer to
help facilitate opportunities for other artists in these same arenas. Elise has
produced, directed, acted and written over 20 shows for the stage in
Sacramento for the past six years, having last been seen in Goodbye Freddy by
Elizabeth Diggs at the Geery Theatre. She is currently in production for an
original work titled These Lonesome Roads by Dan Fagan for September of
2016. She has split her time equally between Los Angeles and Sacramento,
receiving awards along the way for her efforts in theatre, TV and film. She has
been a member of the 68 Cent Crew Theatre Company in LA for the last 10
years

Victoria GoldblattVictoria Goldblatt will read “Resurgence.”  She’s been a Sacramento performer for over 20 years in a variety of films, commercials, community theater and voice overs for TV and radio.. The former Casting Director for Stories on Stage in Sacramento, she was a member of the Steering Committee for the Sacramento’s Playwrights Collaborative for the past seven years.

Stories on Stage Sacramento at the Sacramento Poetry Center, Friday July 29. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested.

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, Maureen O’Leary, Jodi Angel, 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.

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History, Two Ways – at Stories on Stage Sacramento

 

On the menu at Stories on Stage this month: History, Two Ways. Two writers, two approaches that tease new flavors from dry facts.

Mary Volmer, in Reliance, Illinois,  uses a moment in time, an era, as the setting for her characters, and gives a beating heart to 1870s Illinois,  where a young woman with a disfiguring birthmark overcomes poverty and her own mother’s betrayal to discover her life’s purpose through the help of some of the most colorful proto-feminist characters you’ll ever meet.

Jordan Fisher Smith, in Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial,  and the Fight Over Controlling Nature  uses one specific, horrific event ts as a way of opening our eyes to the larger issue and meaning of a moment in time. In 1972 a Yellowstone hiker is killed and partially eaten by a grizzly, triggering a lawsuit against the department of the Interior and igniting a raging debate among environmentalists over what to do when nature has been disrupted by human beings. How do we go about repairing it? How much should we try to control or manipulate it in order to heal it?

Mary Volmer Jordan Fisher SmithWe don’t usually feature non-fiction at Stories on Stage Sacramento but these are compelling issues tackled in different ways by excellent writers. We’re excited to present these two very different uses of history as a jumping-off place. Mary Volmer is a Grass Valley, CA native and a much-praised writer of historic fiction (Crown of Dust and her just-published Reliance, Illinois.Crown of Dust, set during the Gold Rush, earned a Publisher’s Weekly starred review and drew praise from The New York Times Sunday Review of Books for “investing her pioneers with piquant inner lives and a poker-faced lyricism.” Similar praise has arrived for Reliance, Illinois, published in May 2016: Booklist singled out its “rich cast of characters and well-evoked setting” and Publisher’s Weekly noted its “smart touches of humor.” Mary earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College. a master’s from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook. She teaches at Saint Mary’s College and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nevada City writer Jordan Fisher Smith spent 21 years as a park and wilderness ranger in California, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska. In reviewing Engineering Eden, Booklist praised Smith as a “galvanizing storyteller fluent in the conflict between environmental science and politics.” He’s also the author of Nature Noir, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice. His magazine work has appeared in TIME.com, Men’s Journal, Aeon, Discover, and other places, and he’s been nominated for awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jordan is a principal cast member and narrator of the documentary film “Under Our Skin,” which made the 2010 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, and he appears in a 2014 sequel “Under Our Skin 2: Emergence.”

Mallory MonachinoReading an excerpt from Reliance, Illinois will be Mallory Monachino. A newcomer to Stories on Stage, Mallory recently returned to Sacramento after a year spent in Los Angeles studying with renowned acting coach Doug Warhit. She was last seen on stage in Sacramento in the EMH production Look Back In Anger and was the female lead in the short film Labyrinth, written and directed by Lonon Smith. A former competitive synchronized swimmer, Mallory works as a yoga instructor.

 

Matt Rives 2Reading an excerpt from  Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature is Matt Rives, an actor, musician, and stand-up comedian. In addition to several Stories on Stage readings, Matthew has played lead roles in  Noises Off and A Comedy of Errors and has performed by invitation at Laughs Unlimited, The Sacramento Comedy Spot, and Luna’s Café. His notable roles include “Franz Liebkind” in The Producers and “Buck Barrow” in Bonnie and Clyde with Runaway Stage Productions. Matthew also played the role of “The Captain” in the world premier of Frankenstein with Resurrection Theatre. Most recently, he played the role of Tom/Narrator in Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Mr. Aarons in Bridge to Terabitihia, and Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

 

Stories on Stage Sacramento at the Sacramento Poetry Center, Friday June 24. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested.

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, Maureen O’Leary Wanket, Jodi Angel, 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.

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Prizewinning twosome at Stories on Stage Sacramento, May 27

Lori Ostlund Anne Raeff 2We’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 Lori OstlundAward-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.

Anne RaeffIn 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 Ethan IrelandIreland,  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.

Kristine DavidThe 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 suestaats@comcast.net

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Stories on Stage welcomes Vendela Vida, Friday March 25 at the Sacramento Poetry Center

How lost can you be? When the narrator of   The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty finds herself in Casablavendela vida 2nca without passport, money, or credit cards, she could choose refuge in the American Embassy – or she could accept as hers the identity of a stranger, given to her by a mysterious police official. Her choice at this moment, and the following choices she makes, drive the relentless narrative and exploration of both physical and emotional identity in this engrossing novel by our March featured writer,  author ,editor and
scriptwriter Vendela Vida.   The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty was praised in the New York Times Sunday Book Review as “…portraying with cool wit and suspense the explosive emancipation of a woman who, long accustomed to playing handmaiden to more vivid personalities, is finally empowered to grab some warmth, drama, and magic for herself.” The twisting tale of how the nameless narrator accomplishes this is part of the charm of this intriguing story of identity lost, gained, lost and gained over and over again. Vendela Vida is the author of four additional books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, which as a fellow at the Sundance Labs she developed into a script which received the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award. She’s the founding editor of The Believer magazine, and the co-editor of Always Apprentices, a collection of interviews with writers. Two of Vida’s novels have been New York Times Notable Books of the year, and she is the winner of the Kate Chopin Award, given to a writer whose female protagonist chooses an unconventional path. She lives in Northern California with her husband, the writer Dave Eggers, and two children. Since 2002 She has served on the board of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring lab for youth.

An excerpt from The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty will be read by Lori Russo.Lori Rosso
With a BFA from USC, Ms. Russo has performed on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.  Since moving to Sacramento she has performed at Capital Stage in their productions of Superior Donuts  and Good People and received an Elly award for best actress for her performance in Love, Isadora at California Stage.

 

Appearing with Ms. Vida is Sacramento author J.L. James Cooper3(1)Cooper , the recent winner of the Tupelo Quarterly Prose Open Prize, judged by Pulitzer winner Adam Johnson. Jame also received First Place in Short Short Fiction in New Millennium Writings, 2013, and Second Place in Essay in Literal Latte, 2014. His short stories and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in The Manhattan Review, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Gold Man Review, KY Story, Temenos,, Paper Swans Press, Folia Literary Magazine, and in other journals and anthologies. A full-length collection of poetry, titled An Ocean Large Enough, is forthcoming from WordTech. His current projeMatt Rives 2ct is a wild collection of short stories about fictionalized therapy. Cooper is a practicing psychologist, which profession, he says, has” shaped him to lean in unexpected winds, to hold fast or be swept away in wonder. There is always context, amplified or subdued, a language in the hands, in posture, in the pauses between words.”

His prize-winning story short story “Path of the Ground Birds,” will be read by Matt Rives. An actor, musician, and stand-up comedian, Matt has played lead roles in Noises Off and A Comedy of Errors. Most recently, he played the role of the role of Tom/Narrator in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Mr. Aarons in Bridge to Terabitihia, and Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Now in its seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Last year’s featured writers 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 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 in 2016 we look forward to presenting more fine writing read by actors Sacramento lovers of literature.

Vendela Vida with JL Cooper, with readings by Lori Russo and Matt Rives, at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Streets, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $5 donation is suggested. 

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We’re back at the Sacramento Poetry Center for the Grand Finale to our Sixth Season featuring Davis writer Naomi Williams

Naomi 3

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/Elise Winn

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 Blair LeatherwoodLandfalls 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 suestaats@comcast.net

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March at Stories on Stage Sacramento: Sharma Shields, Ana Cotham, and readers Blair Leatherwood and Michelle Champoux

Sharma ShieldsDoes Sasquatch exist? Most of us would be skeptical, but in Sharma Shields’ imaginative, lightning-struck debut novel, everything is possible. In The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, a young boy’s lifelong hunt for the creature who stole his mother affects every relationship he has in his long life—with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. There’s magic, unicorns, hexes, curses—and the mysterious Mr. Krantz—all  seamlessly twined with the story of Eli Roebuck and his family. O Magazine named The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac “one of 13 incredible books to devour in February.” Entertainment Weekly named Shields one of 25 “writers to watch” in 2015, and called the novel “…a story that easily qualifies as one of the most wonderfully weird debuts of the new  year. At heart it’s a family saga and a cautionary tale about frailties—greed, mania, ego, anger—that make us much too human…”

In addition to The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, Sharma Shields is the author of a short story collection, Favorite Monster. Her writing has appeared in Electric Lit, The New York Times, Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Fugue, and elsewhere. She’s won numerous awards, including the Autumn House Fiction Prize. She received her B.A in English Literature from the University of Washington, and her MFA from the University of Montana. She lives in Spokane with her husband and two young children.

Reading an excerpt from The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac will be Blair Leatherwood. A Stories on Stage favorite, Blair is a Sacramento-based actor with over forty years of experience on the boards. He has been working most recently with Alma Theater in San Francisco, Livermore Shakespeare Festival and Sacramento Theater Company ( It’s a Wonderful Life: The Musical, Pride and
Prejudice, A Little Princess). He has also worked with Capital Stage, Sacramento Music Circus, and many other theaters. He also works as an improvisational role player for UCD Medical Center and the Institute for Criminal Investigation and as an audio describer for the visually-impaired for California Musical Theater.

This month’s emerging writer, Ana Cotham, is a familiar face to Stories on Stage regulars. She’s happy to take your donations and sell you raffle tickets, and this month we’re showcasing her considerable talents as a writer. Ana earned her BA in English literature from UC Berkeley and spent the next several years working admin jobs and writing fiction—i.e., being poor. Her general love of words finally paid off in the form of an actual career; she currently works as a technical editor and occasional freelance writer. She is honored, overjoyed and slightly panicked about having her second story, “Ebb and Flow,” read at Stories on Stage . Her first, “A Love of Olives, A Fear of Squirrels,” was performed in September 2012.

Reading Ana’s story will be Stories on Stage newcomer Michelle Champoux. She describes herself as a person who “hungers for written words.” Her favorite wordsmiths/poets/playwrights include: W. Somerset Maugham , Bertolt Brecht, William Burroughs, Sylvia Plath + Anne Sexton, Shakespeare. She holds degrees in Theatre Arts and Dance and attended the American Conservatory Theatre. She’ll travel anywhere, including skid row. Her current frame of mind? “Sans peur.”

Stories on Stage, the popular, award-winning series where actors perform short stories, has been delighting audiences for six years. The event has been named a “Reader’s Choice literary event” for five consecutive years by the Sacramento News & Review. Stories on Stage takes place on the final Friday of each month at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th Street, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM; the readings begin at 7:30. A $5 donation is suggested.

 

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February at Stories on Stage: Elena Mauli Shapiro and Tigh Rickman: readers Eric Baldwin and Cynthia Speakman

We’re very excited to bring  Elena Mauli ShapiroElena Mauli Shapiro back to Stories on Stage Sacramento. Elena’s a Bay area writer whose first novel, 13 Rue Therese, was praised as a “sensual treat” by USA Today, and a London Times reviewer said of her “…Mauli Shapiro writes not so much like an angel as an imp: hot, jabbing and naughty, with a tight grip on the senses….” Her second novel, In The Red, was highlighted in “A Year of Reading” in The Millions as “…spectacular…a dark story about a bright young woman’s descent into a criminal underworld, realism interlaced with fairy tales…. an expert meditation on money, morality, and belonging.” From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “…Shapiro’s deft leaps forward in time and frequent use of eerie Romanian folks tales help make this dark story a multilayered literary treat.”

Elena was born in Paris and moved to the US at thirteen.  She amassed several degrees in literature and writing at Stanford, Mills College, and UC Davis.  Both of her novels were published Little, Brown:  13 rue Thérèse,  in 2013, and  In the Red,  in 2014.  Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as Zyzzyva, Five Chapters, and Farallon Review. She lives in the Bay Area with her scientist husband and two elderly half-Siamese cats who spend all day following sunbeams around the house. There’s more about Elena, her life,  and her work on her website http://elenamaulishapiro.com/

Her short story”Vanity,” which appears in the current issue of Farallon Review, will be read by Sacramento actor Eric Baldwin.  A Stories on Stage favorite, Eric has worked locally, regional, nationally and internationally. He served as the Artistic Director of Quantum Theatre in Los Angeles from 2000-2004 and founded Sacramento’s Resurrection Theatre. Favorite roles include Henry V, Macbeth, Biff in Death of a Salesman, Prospero in The Tempest, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Pale in Burn This and Barry Champlain in Talk Radio.

We’re also pleased to introduce emerging writer Tigh Rickman. He’s a native Sacramentan and a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA at the University of Southern Maine. His writing has appeared in The Bradford ReView, The Conium Review, The Farallon Review, Celebrities in Disgrace and The Salty Beatnik. He lives with his girlfriend Kelly in Oak Park where they tend to a pair of spoiled rotten chickens, and he is currently restoring a 1950s Airstream travel trailer. In his spare time he frequents junk shops, looking for old objects and the stories they tell.

Tigh’s short story eViews.com will be read by Cynthia Mitchell Speakman, another Stories on Stage favorite. Cynthia has been performing with the spoken word group StoryVoices, and teaching children’s theatre for over 10 years. She’s appeared in plays ranging from The Glass Menagerie and Death of a Salesman to Harvey and Alice in Wonderland as the Queen of Hearts. She recently completed work in an independent film, In God We Trust, to be released in March. You may occasionally hear her in radio commercials or see her downtown giving a Segway tour or Hysterical Walk in Old Sac.

Stories on Stage Sacramento

at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th Street, (25th and R Arts Complex,) Sacramento

Friday, February 27

Doors open at 7PM: readings begin at 7:30

$5 donation suggested

Copies of 13 Rue Therese,  In the Red, and Farallon Review will be for sale

 

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Happy Holidays from Stories on Stage

BookTree1-550x550Happy Holidays and Merry Bookmas from Stories on Stage

We’re taking a break this month, but if you’re looking for something to do with your December Final Friday, may we suggest a glass of wine, a lively fire, and a good book? Or, several good books – all from the wonderful writers who made 2014 such a great season. Here they are, in order:

  • January –  Marisa SilverMary Coin, Alone With You 
  • March –  Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar
  • April  – Peter Orner, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, Love and Shame and Love
  • May  – Kate Milliken, If I’d Known You Were Coming and Joey Garcia, When Your Heart Breaks It’s Opening to Love
  • June  –  Tom Barbash, Stay Up With Me
  • July  –  Kirstin ChenSoy Sauce for Beginners
  • August  –  Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
  • September –  Michael Spurgeon, Let The Water Hold Me Down, and Anara Guard, Remedies for Hunger
  • October  –  Katie Crouch, Abroad
  • November  – Evan Morgan Williams, Thorn, and Valerie Fioravanti, Garbage Night at the Opera

Coming up soon: our 2015 season announcement! Watch this space….and mark all the Final Fridays of 2015 on your calendar as must-attend Stories on Stage events!

Many, many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers – The Sacramento Poetry Center, The Avid Reader, Pushkin’s Bakery, our casting director Peggi Wood, Tatiana Morfas, Ana Cotham, Tim Foley, Geoffrey Neill, Ruth Blank, Kevin McKenna, Corinne Litchfield, David Hagarty, Joey Garcia, and to Valerie Fioravanti, founder and guiding spirit.

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November at Stories on Stage: Evan Morgan Williams and Valerie Fioravanti

We’re celebrating the conclusion of our fifth successful season with our  annual

Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize event

 featuring this year’s winner

Evan Morgan Williams

also featuring

former Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize winner and Stories on Stage founder

Valerie Fioravanti

Readings by Jeff and Susan Webster and Gay Cooper

November 28, 2014

Sacramento Poetry Center

Doors open 7PM, readings begin at 7:30

$5 donation suggested

 

Evan Morgan Evan WilliamsWilliams’ collection of short stories, Thorn, is the 2013 winner of the Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize, awarded by BkMk Press (University of Missouri – Kansas City) and judged by Al Young. Williams earned his MFA at the University of Montana. He has published over forty stories in literary magazines including Witness, Kenyon Review, ZYZZYVA, Antioch Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Northwest Review. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches in a public school. To read selections of his work and learn more about him, visit his blog, Stories and News http://bit.ly/storiesandnews

Valerie Fioravanti

Valerie Fioravanti is the author of Garbage Night at the Opera, winner of the 2011 Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines, including North American Review, Cimarron Review, and Hunger Mountain. Her fiction has received four Pushcart Prize nominations, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. Valerie works privately as a writing teacher, editor, and mentor. “The Tough Guy Test” is taken from her recently completed second collection, Bridge & Tunnel. Her website is http://www.valeriefioravanti.com/

 

We are happy to welcome back Stories on Stage favorites Gay Cooper and Jeff Webster as this month’s readers. Jeff will be joined by his wife, Susan, in reading Evan Williams‘ short story “Ivory” from his prize-winning collection Thorn. Gay Cooper will read “The Tough Guy Test” from Valerie Fioravanti’s new collection, Bridge & Tunnel.

Jeff Webster

Sue WebsterThis is Jeff Webster’s ’s fourth appearance at Stories on Stage, and he is very pleased to be reading with his wife, Susan. Jeff had been active in the Sacramento theater scene for several years before he and Susan retired to the Tucson area in 2013. Fortunately, he has found a lively theater community in the desert. He recently played Paul in Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffaloand Detective Sergeant Troughton in Ray Cooney’s  Run for Your Wife. Susan Webster is pleased to co-read “Ivory” with her husband Jeff. In college, she was cast in several plays, including the leading role of Beatrice in A View from the Bridge. More recently, she played multiple roles in a medical training video and Mary in the short film, A Love Remembered. Sue has been a hospice volunteer for 21 years, both in Sacramento and in Green Valley, Arizona.

Gay Cooper 2

Gay Cooper is thrilled to be returning to Stories on Stage. She is an actor who has worked with many theater companies in town, including Resurrection Theater, Big Idea Theater, Kolt Run Creations, and California Stage.  She has also worked in commercials and industrial films. Gay has had the pleasure of participating in previous Chandra Prize winner celebrations and is a Stories on Stage favorite, reading for both the Sacramento series as well as Davis.

We are looking for emerging writers! If you have a story you think would fit the Stories on Stage format (2500 – 4500 words, literary fiction, plenty of scene and dialogue) we’d love to hear from you. Send in pdf or word document to suestaats@comcast.net.

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October at Stories on Stage: Bestselling author Katie Crouch

A night of mystery and suspense

with Katie Crouch,  and a reading from her  new novel

Abroad

Also appearing

Sacramento writer Paul Mann

OCTOBER 24, 2014

Sacramento Poetry Center

Doors open 7PM, readings begin at 7:30

$5 donation suggested

Katie Crouch 2

Author of the bestselling novels Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs, Crouch’s latest novel, Abroad, is a mystery wound through and through with betrayal and thrilling secrets.  Based on the Amanda Knox incident, Abroad tells the story of a young Irish girl, Taz, who travels to Italy to study and is swept up in an ultimately fatal whirlwind. The novel was praised in the San Francisco Chronicle as a “psychological, grab-your-throat thriller,” holding the reader “in its ever-tightening grip, with a heady mix of history, burning secrets and exquisite language…’we were all alive, and we loved and hated and lived brilliant messy existences.  The air was thick with our wanting’ says Taz in the novel’s knockout last pages. Don’t forget me, these pages beg, and Crouch’s haunting, disturbing story makes sure that to do such a thing would be absolutely impossible.” Abroad  was selected for the New Republic, Elle, Newsday, and the Chicago Tribune Summer Reading Lists.

Ms. Crouch covered the Amanda Knox appeal for Slate magazine, and has also written for The Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Tin House, and Salon. She writes a regular column on The Rumpus called “Missed.” A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Crouch is a MacDowell fellow and an alumna of Brown University and the Columbia University MFA program. She teaches at San Francisco State University and lives in Bolinas, California with the writer Peter Orner and their daughter Phoebe.  There’s more about her at http://katiecrouch.net/

Paul Mann 4Paul Mann’s colorful stories of mystery and mayhem are set in his native Florida. He lives in Sacramento with his lovely wife, energetic and beautiful daughter, and loyal canine. By day he works as an investigator representing death row inmates in their Habeas appeals in federal courts. His stories have appeared in The Farallon Review, Susurrus, Sunken Lines, CrimeSpree, The Saturnalian, and Sacramento News & Review, as well as Stories on Stage Sacramento and Davis. In the little spare time he has, he spends time with his family, works on his short story collection, enjoys bicycling and swimming, restoring old bikes, woodworking, and tinkering in his shop. He also firmly believes that one can never have too many bikes. More about Paul at http://www.paulmarshallmann.com

 

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