Tag Archives: Sacramento

It’s the end of our 2016 season, and on Friday, October 28, Bonnie Jo Campbell has something to say about mothers and daughters

bonnie-jo-campbellI’ll begin with an early warning: I can’t be objective about Bonnie Jo Campbell. I’m a fan. I love her dark, twisted, often funny stories and how she’s willing to take them as far as they will go, and then,  even further. I love the sunny, ever-optimistic way she lives her life. I’m in awe of how she’s very serious and disciplined about her writing, but playful when it comes to presenting herself as a writer, despite her burgeoning reputation as a leading author of what’s been called “rural America’s postindustrialbonnie-and-flannery landscape.”  What other writer,  compared to the great Flannery O’Connor, would show up at appearances for her short story collection Mothers, Tell Your Daughters with Flannery herself at her side, or rather a lifesize, cardboard version of Flannery?

Flannery won’t be with us when Bonnie Jo appears as the featured writer on Friday October 28 at Stories on Stage Sacramento, but she is bringing something just as fun – comics! The graphic artist Monica Friedman, a former student of Bonnie Jo’s (as am I – full disclosure) created six-panel versions of all sixteen stories in Mothers Tell Your bjc-daughters-of-the-animal-kingdom_edited-1Daughters, and we’ll have copies of the entire book at the event. “Daughters of the Animal Kingdom” is the story we’ve selected to be read, and here’s the graphic interpretation.

What else about Bonnie Jo?  Nearly too much to report, and that’s just about her writing. Mothers Tell Your Daughters recently won the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association’s Great Lakes, Great Reads Award for Adult Fiction. She is also author of the novel Q Road and its prequel, the New York Times best-seller Once Upon A River.  Her previous short story collection American Salvage was a finalist for the National Book Award AND the National
Book Critics Circle Award. Her first story collection, Women and Other Animals, won the AWP Award for Short Fiction. She’s a Guggenheim Fellow. She’s won a Pushcart Prize, the Eudora Welty Prize, and the 2009 CBA Letterpress Chapbook Award for her poetry collection  Love Letters to Sons of Bitches. She teaches in the Low-Residency Program at Pacific University, and next spring, she will serve as the Mary Rogers Field and Marion Field-McKenna Distinguished University Professor of Creative Writing at DePauw University. When she’s not writing or teaching or making appearances or giving readings bonniejocampbell-and-donkeyshe tends to her two donkeys, Jack and Don Quixote, raises chickens,  practices martial arts, rides her bike long distances, brings in the hay on her mother’s farm and makes an exemplary elderberry wine. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan  with her husband, Christopher. www.bonniejocampbell.com.

 It’s always a pleasure when a former “emerging” writer becomes a featured writer, and kristin-fitzpatrick-2this month we are very happy to welcome back  Kristin Fitzpatrick. Her first short story collection, My Pulse is an Earthquake, was published in 2015 by West Virginia University Press. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, The Southeast Review, Best of Gival Press Short Stories, Epiphany, and Ventura County Star. Her writing has also been chosen for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and The New Short Fiction Series. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Jentel Artist Residency Program and The Seven Hills School. Originally from Michigan, she now lives in California and teaches writing at CSU Channel Islands. There’s more at her website www.kristinfitzpatrick.com

Our readers this month are two Stories on Stage audience favorites: Kelley Ogden and Tara Henry.

Kelley Ogden 2Kelley Ogden  is an accomplished performer, director and producer whose work has been seen throughout the area. Co-founder of acclaimed fringe theater company, KOLT Run Creations, Kelley has performed with Capital Stage (most recently in How to Use A Knife and The Totalitarians,) Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Main Street Theatre Works and Theater Galatea among others. Kelley earned her BFA in Performance from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.

Back for the 4th time at Stories on Stage, Tara Henry is a familiar face to local theatre-


goers. Recent performances include roles in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and The Fantasticks at Sacramento Theatre Company; Emma in The Behavior of Broadus at Capital Stage, and Dromio in A Comedy of Errors at the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, among many other Shakespeare productions. She also appeared as a Fantasy Festival 28 cast member with the B Street Theatre.

Our featured writer for October

Bonnie Jo Campbell

author of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

with Kristin Fitzpatrick

readings by Kelley Ogden and Tara Henry

Friday, October 28, 7:30 PM at the Auditorium at CLARA

(The E Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts)

a $10 donation is suggested


As we end our seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to be proud of the excellence in literary fiction we have presented 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. This year we presented Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer, Jodi Angel, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges,  created an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re elated by the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and excited to continue to present more fine writing read by actors to Sacramento lovers of literature.

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August at Stories on Stage: Featured writers and actors

Our featured writer this month is

Anthony Marra

author of the widely acclaimed and PEN-shortlisted novel

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

appearing with Anthony is Sacramento writer

Julie Woodside

An excerpt from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena 

will be read by Ruby Sketchley

Julie Woodside’s short story The Stone Wall will be read by Tory Scroggins



625 S Street, Sacramento

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

anthony-marra 2Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is a New York Times bestseller, on a dozen national “best ten” lists, the winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize,  on the shortlist for the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for debut novel, and was recently named Book of the Year by the Northern California Independent Booksellers. Anthony has also won a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Narrative Prize, the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, and the inaugural 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he now teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and currently lives in Oakland, California. There’s more about Anthony at http://anthonymarra.net/


Julie Woodside is a member of the Urban Hive, Coffee and Ink, and KMWriters writing groups. Her fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in various on-line publications, and her poetry has been published in Tule Review and Poets INC.  She is currently working on a collection of short stories and her first novel. When not writing, she enjoys her semi-retirement job with a local manufacturer of outrigger canoes, as well as cooking, reading, and volunteering at local theatres.



Ruby Sketchley

Ruby Sketchley is currently a company member at Big Idea Theatre, She has also been seen in plays at KOLT, Resurrection Theatre, MSTW, Closet Door Theatre, and ASQP, and has served on the board of the Capital Film Arts Alliance.  She’s been seen on many television and radio commercials, as well as in feature and short films. With her husband, she runs a film production company, whose most recent project is a documentary on home death care. A veteran of several appearances at Stories on Stage, Ruby particularly values the experience of reading to an audience:  “Having a story read to me takes me back to my childhood, and that wonderful freedom to paint pictures in my mind. I hope the audience finds that same magic as they listen to the stories being presented at Stories on Stage.”


Tory Scroggins

Tory Scroggins began his career a make-up artist in Los Angeles, where he perfected the look of such famous faces as Beyoncé,  Janet Jackson and Usher. He transitioned to acting in 2000, and has since performed in nearly two dozen stage plays, in addition to appearances on television and in film. Tory moved to Sacramento two years ago, and is currently majoring in theatre arts at Sacramento City College. He recently appeared there in the play Scapino.  Tory can be seen in August Wilson’s Jitney, opening September 5th at The Celebration Arts Theatre. Follow him on twitter @ToryScroggins1

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August at Stories on Stage: Anthony Marra at Verge Center for the Arts

“She circled it with red ink and referred to it nightly. Life: a constellation of vital phenomena

–organization, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction, adaptation.”

from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

A brilliant and beautiful story of love and sacrifice

set in wartime Chechnya

Stories on Stage is honored to present our featured writer for August

Anthony Marra

Friday, August 29, 2014

 Verge Center for the Arts

625 S Street, Sacramento

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

$5 donation suggested.

anthony marraAMarra-AConstellationVP

The New York Times Book Review called Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, “a 21st-century War and Peace.” The Washington Post extolled it as “a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.” Marra’s brilliant tale of love and forgiveness in war-torn Chechnya is a New York Times bestseller, on a dozen national “best ten” lists, the winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize,  on the shortlist for the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for debut novel, and was recently named Book of the Year by the Northern California Independent Booksellers.

In addition to the honors mentioned above, Marra is the winner of a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize,  the Narrative Prize, the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, and the inaugural 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award.  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena was a National Book Award longlist selection as well as a shortlist selection for the Flaherty-Dunnan first novel prize. Marra’s work has also been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012.

Marra received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he now teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and currently resides in Oakland, California. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is his first novel. Find more information about him at http://anthonymarra.net/

Stories on Stage, the popular, award-winning series where actors perform short stories, is celebrating its fifth year. It takes place on the final Friday of each month, customarily at the Sacramento Poetry Center. But because of the anticipated size of the audience, the August event will be held at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento.

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This month at Stories on Stage: Kate Milliken and Joey Garcia

Tantalizing tales from two fabulous women!

“Parts of a Boat”

from Kate Milliken’s prize-winning short story collection

If I’d Known You Were Coming

“Frank Sinatra Saved My Life”

by Sacramento writer Joey Garcia

“Parts of a Boat” will be read by Pam Metzger

“Frank Sinatra Saved My Life” will be read by Imani Mitchell


Friday, May 30, 2014

Doors open at 7, readings begin at 7:30

Kate Kate MillikenMilliken’s stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Fiction, New Orleans Review, and Santa Monica Review, among others. A graduate of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, and several Pushcart Prize nominations, Kate has also written for television and commercial advertising. Kate’s debut collection of stories, If I’d Known You Were Coming, won the 2013 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and was published by the University of Iowa Press.She lives in Northern California with her husband and their two children. She’s currently working on a screenplay based on her short story, “Mad River,” and completing her novel, the first chapter of which was named runner-up for the 2013 Dana Award

Pam MetzgerPam Metzger was a radio broadcaster for twenty years, and continues to work as a voiceover talent nationally and locally. One of nine children, she was deemed the family storyteller, and at an early age discovered the magic of verbal communication, of being able to change her voice depending on the character in the story. She loves the enchantment reading aloud creates for both reader and listener. She lives by the words of the author Roald Dahl – “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Joey GarciaJoey Garcia has dispensed wise, witty and practical advice to readers of the Sacramento News & Review since 1996. She is the author of the new book When Your Heart Breaks, It’s Opening to Love: Healing and finding love after an affair, heartbreak or divorce, has a short story forthcoming in the Farallon Review and is at work on a novel. Her poetry has been published in Calyx, The Caribbean Writer, in four anthologies and is forthcoming in Presence International Journal and the Tule Review. She has also been awarded poetry fellowships to Spoleto, Italy and Paris, France. Joey was born in Belize, and you can discover more at www.joeygarcia.com

Imani MitchelImani Mitchell is a Sacramento native and local actress. She recently received her associate’s degree in Theatre Arts from Sacramento City College. Imani has performed at several theatres including Capital Stage, B Street Theatre and Celebration Arts. Next spring, she plans to attend Sacramento State and continue her education. This is her first time participating in this event and she is absolutely thrilled!

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