Featured Authors & Actors 6/8/19

About the Authors

shobha_raoShobha Rao moved to the United States from India at the age of seven. She is the author of the short story collection An Unrestored Woman and the novel Girls Burn Brighter. Rao is the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and is the recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation Fellowship. Her story “Kavitha and Mustafa” was chosen by T.C. Boyle for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2015. Girls Burn Brighter has been longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and is a finalist for the California Book Award. She lives in San Francisco.


esme-wangEsmé Weijun Wang is the author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias and the novel The Border of Paradise, which was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2016. She received a 2018 Whiting Award, was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017, and was the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize in 2016. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, Wang lives in San Francisco, and can be found at esmewang.com and on Twitter @esmewang.(Photo: Jacquelyn Tierney)


alyssa-buchthalAlyssa Buchthal will read an excerpt from Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao. Buchthal is a junior at UC Davis, double majoring in computer science and communication. In her free time, she has performed in several productions, including “Light Delay” with Ground and Field Theatre Festival, Dogfight with Studio 301, and The Tale of the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon with the UC Davis Undergraduate Theatre Festival. Buchthal enjoys writing in her free time (both plays and prose), as well as assisting in producing the Ground and Field Theatre Festival, stage-managing with various companies, and being an officer on the UC Davis Dressage Team. Catch her this September as a member of the Ground and Field Ensemble on the UC Davis campus!

joy-dingJoy Ding will read “What Terrible Thing It Was” by Esmé Weijun Wang. Ding is a writer and performer engaged with issues of memory and the experience of Asian Americans in the US. She has recorded a number of short stories, including, most recently, Italo Calvino’s “Mushrooms in the City.” She also performed a staged reading of “Light Delay” for UC Davis’ 2018 Ground and Field Festival. Ding is currently adapting and rehearsing one of her own short stories – about a Chinese-American daughter and her mother – for a performance at the Manetti Shrem Museum on May 30th.



Featured Authors & Actors 5/11/19

About the Authors

Pam HoustonPam Houston is the author of the memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards. She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Melinda MoustakisMelinda Moustakis is the author of Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award and was a 5 Under 35 selection by the National Book Foundation. She is the recipient of an O. Henry Award, the Hodder Fellowship, the NEA, the Kenyon Review Fellowship, the Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship, and most recently the Rona Jaffe Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. She is currently a visiting professor at UC Davis.

About the Actors

Martha Omiyo KightMartha Omiyo Kight will read “The Season of Hunkering Down” by Pam Houston. Kight has been very active in the Sacramento area theatre community for four decades as an actor, singer, director, props mistress, and costumer. Most recently, she appeared in Sacramento Theater Company’s world premiere of the musical drama The Donner Party and the encore of The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!). Her credits in area theaters include, Violet Weston in August: Osage County, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Sister Aloysius in Doubt, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, as well as leading roles in A New BrainNoises Off,  Angels in America, and The Importance of Being Earnest. She has been writing poetry and reading her own and others’ work since 2009. Her poetry has been published in three Sacramento Voices anthologies and featured at Poetry Live Sunday in Placerville. She was also featured reader for Evan Myquest’s “Death Valley Days” and Gene Avery’s “Death by Deer Rifle.” This will be her third appearance at Stories on Stage Davis, and she has also read for Stories on Stage Sacramento.

Patricia GlassPatricia Glass will read “The Last Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show” by Melinda Moustakis. Glass has been involved in dramas, comedies, musicals, voice-overs, staged readings, and storytelling for more than thirty years; locally for the past seventeen. Her most recent credit is playing Dorothy Brock in 42ndStreet at the Woodland Opera House. Glass earned a BA in theatre from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has worked for UC Davis for the past seventeen years.

Featured Authors & Actors 4/13/19

About the Authors

Jamil KochaiJamil Jan Kochai is the author of 99 Nights in Logar. He was born in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1992, but he originally hails from Logar, Afghanistan. He was a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his fiction has been published in PloughsharesThe O. Henry Prize Stories 2018,  A Public Space, and The Sewanee Review.



Maria KuznetsovaMaria Kuznetsova was born in Kiev, Ukraine and moved to the United States as a child. Her debut novel, Oksana, Behave! was published in March by Spiegel & Grau/Random House and is a Barnes & Noble Spring 2019 Discover pick. Her work can also be found in places such as Guernica, The Threepenny Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and The Southern Review. She lives in Iowa City with her husband, daughter, and cat.



About the Actors


Arslan SaeedArslan Saeed will read “Saba’s Story” by Jamil Jan Kochai. Saeed, a senior at CSU Sacramento, is currently pursuing a B.A. in communication studies and a minor in theatre arts. He is thrilled to be collaborating with Stories on Stage Davis. His most recent roles include Tom Snout in the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at CSU Sacramento, Count Bellair in the production of The Beaux’ Stratagem, and John Willoughby in the production of Sense and Sensibility at Sacramento City Theatre. Saeed would like to thank all his mentors and family for their support.



Kelley OgdenKelley Ogden will read “I Pledge Allegiance to the Butterfly” by Maria Kuznetsova. 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, she has performed with Capital Stage, Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Main Street Theatre Works, and Theater Galatea, among others. Ogden earned her BFA in performance from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.