For our inaugural event, September 14th, 2013, we are featuring “Collard Greens & Baklava” by emerging author Michelle Woods, first published in the Davis publication Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, and “Garbage Night at the Opera” by Valerie Fioravanti, published by BkMk Press and winner of the Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, the IPPY Bronze medal in Short Fiction and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize.
Garbage Night at the Opera covers roughly 30 years in the life of one extended family as their neighborhood loses the factory jobs that supported them, languishes for a generation, then gentrifies beyond their means.
Kevin McIlvoy describes it as a book that “intimately places you inside the characters’ hearts and minds, as they reckon with what cannot be salvaged—and what can.” According to the San Francisco Book Review, Fioravanti’s characters “are real and unapologetic. Her backdrop of Brooklyn…is vivid, with language that is accessible and street as well as poetically spot on.” We have chosen to present the title story—a story that mixes despair, humor, and above all, a fighting spirit and hope.
“Collard Greens & Baklava,” the first chapter of a novella, explores the experiences of Latreece, a woman who is rebuilding her life after ending an uninspired marriage. In search of community, she joins the Prayer Walking and Outdoor Communion Committee of a local church. But instead of communing with nature, she finds herself contemplating questions about identity, intimacy, and society’s unease with single women. Michelle Woods’ fiction has been published in the Sacramento News and Review and the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review. Her short story “Dirty Water” will be featured in the upcoming Sacramento Stories on Stage season. She is a graduate of the California State University, Sacramento, creative writing program and currently lives in Davis.