Gratitude and the Power of Fiction


In September 2013, Jeri Howitt founded Stories on Stage Davis with the support of a small grant and a group of volunteers. We started out in the cozy, upstairs Learning Center at the Pence Gallery and quickly outgrew the space. To accommodate our loyal audience, we moved downstairs to the main gallery, where, every month, we continue to present fiction introduced by authors and read by actors, surrounded by beautiful, sometimes surprising, and always thought-provoking art.

From the beginning, we have been committed to paying our authors and actors for the work they share with us. This August, in need of additional funds to sustain the series and help cover the costs of our 2016-17 season, we launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. We are thrilled to announce that, on October 5, hours before our deadline and with the help of 70 backers, we met our fundraising goal. (If you selected a perk with your donation, know that we’re busy fulfilling them this week and next!)

More than ever, we are proud to call Pence Gallery—and Davis—home, and we offer our sincere thanks to you for supporting our fundraising campaign by donating, telling your friends, and sharing our links; for joining us month after month at the Pence to celebrate the literary, theater, and visual art that makes our region special, and to our authors, for trusting us with their words, and our actors, for bringing words to life.

At our October 8 event, we were moved by author Carmiel Banasky’s remarks on the power of fiction: “Especially in the immediate political climate, fiction is a tool for empathy,” she said. “It is not an escape from reality. It is an invitation to think broader, deeper, and beyond our own skin. It is an invitation to figure out how we are connected.” In the months ahead, we hope every event—every story—will invite you to reflect on the many connections we share as a community, here in Davis and beyond, and inspire conversations that will continue outside the gallery doors.

And yes—Naomi Williams is getting that tattoo!

Thank you,

Elise Winn Pollard and Naomi Williams, co-directors, and the entire Stories on Stage Davis board

Featured Authors & Actors 9/10/16

To kick off our 2016-17 season, we’re hosting a Sherlock Holmes-themed Opening Night Gala at the Pence Gallery on September 10. The evening will include Sherlock-inspired stories, wine, tea and scones, a silent auction, and more. We hope you’ll join us for this special event! John Lescroart will be on hand to introduce his story and sign books. Lucy Corin and Catriona McPherson won’t be in attendance, but we’ll be raffling off signed books by both authors, and our bookseller is happy to take orders for signed copies.

Tickets are limited and available here or via a season subscription at our Indiegogo campaign. We’re excited to introduce you to the authors and actors we’re featuring next month.

John LescroartJohn Lescroart is the author of twenty-five novels, sixteen of which have been New York Times Bestsellers. Libraries Unlimited has included Lescroart in its publication “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors.” With sales of over ten million copies, his books have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies. Stories on Stage Davis will present “The Adventure of the Giant Rat of Sumatra,” which was selected for the 1998 edition of Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Mystery Stories, edited by Sue Grafton. Lescroart has endowed the perennial $5,000 Maurice Prize for excellence in long-form fiction at the University of California at Davis. He and his wife, Lisa Sawyer, live in Northern California.

Lucy CorinLucy Corin is the author of the short story collections One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses (McSweeney’s Books) and The Entire Predicament (Tin House Books) as well as a novel, Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls (FC2). Stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Ploughshares, Tin House Magazine, and the New American Stories anthology from Vintage. She was an American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize winner and is a current NEA fellow in literature. She is at work on a novel, The Swank Hotel. (Photo by Lydia Daniller)

Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in Scotland and lived there until 2010, before moving to California. A former bank clerk, library worker, and academic, she is the multi-award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver detective stories, set in Scotland in the 1920s. She also writes award-winning contemporary standalones, including The Day She Died, Come to Harm, and The Child Garden. McPherson is a proud member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, The Crimewriters’ Association, The Society of Authors, and Scottish PEN. She was the 2014/15 president of Sisters in Crime (National). Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains won the Sue Feder Memorial Award in 2012, and Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder won the Agatha for Best Historical Novel in the same year. The series won the Bruce Alexander Award in 2013 and 2014. She lives in Davis with her husband and two cats.

JR YancherJ.R. Yancher will read “The Adventure of the Giant Rat of Sumatra” by John Lescroart. Yancher is a Davis native who has traversed the country for the last ten years, training and working as an actor and director. His theaters of employ have included Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Victory Gardens (Chicago), Pacific Conservatory Theater (PCPA), Seattle Immersive Theater, Ten Chimneys (WI), and, most recently, Davis Shakespeare Festival. In front of the camera, he has worked on internet, regional, and national commercials. Yancher holds a BFA in original works from Cornish College of the Arts and an AA in acting from The Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts. He is a founding member of OG Theater in Seattle and currently directs for TPC Sketch Comedy and Improv in Sacramento.

Analise Langford-ClarkAnalise Langford-Clark will read “Baby Alive” by Lucy Corin and an excerpt of the story “The First Mrs. Coulter” by Catriona McPherson. Langford-Clark has been involved in community theater in the Sacramento Area for the last twenty years. Some of her favorite roles include Janet van de Graff in The Drowsy Chaperone with Fair Oaks Theatre Festival, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at American River College, and Marie-Therese in Adoration of Dora with KOLT Run Creations. She has worked for the Sacramento Kings for the last fourteen years—Go Kings! She is a survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and she and her father help raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she was lucky enough to be treated. While her first love is theater, she is an avid reader and is thrilled to get to participate in this program.

We’ve launched our Indiegogo Campaign!

We’re raising funds for our upcoming fourth season at Indiegogo. Stories on Stage Davis is an all-volunteer organization committed to paying our authors and actors, and we depend on your support. If you’re as excited as we are about our 2016-17 event calendar, we hope you’ll consider contributing to our campaign. We’re offering limited-edition perks like season subscriptions, origami books, and our much-loved chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. Help us reach our funding goal, and get something fun in return! Visit our campaign.