After publishing two successful novels, Peter Orner returns to short stories in his latest book, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge. A tour de force of short story writing, Orner’s evocative and insightful new collection is packed with fifty stories—some only a page long—that deepen with every read. We have chosen two stories for November’s Stories on Stage Davis performance, “Denny Coughlin: In Memory” and “The Vac-Haul.” Some have called Peter Orner a writer’s writer, but we think you’ll agree that he is also a reader’s writer.
Peter Orner’s other books include Esther Stories, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, and Love and Shame and Love. Orner has received the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Pushcart Prizes. He is a professor at San Francisco State University.
Ruth Blank has been writing since high school. She recently retired after twenty-five years working for the cable television industry and eight years as the CEO of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation to finally start her novel, which is inspired by a story she published in Ploughshares.
Stories on Stage Davis has chosen Ruth Blank’s short story “River Road” for the November performance. Published in The Huffington Post, “River Road” explores the unexpected intimacy that develops between a shopkeeper and a cook with a checkered past. The story takes place amid the chaos of an accident scene on a San Joaquin Delta bridge and is infused with descriptions of first responders, small-town gossip and the smell of ripening tomatoes.
Blank attended writing workshops at Stanford in the early seventies, several UCD Extension fiction workshops, and is a regular participant in Jodi Angel’s workshops.