Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Saint Monkey was also the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and shortlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. The novel received critical acclaim from numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, where it was reviewed in the Sunday Book Review and listed in Paperback Row. Saint Monkey was also listed in the Louisville Courier Journal’s Year-End Favorites, named a Top Novel of 2014 by The Root, and chosen as the May 2015 Book of the Month by the Go on Girl! National Book Club.
Alana Mathews will read an excerpt from Jacinda Townsend’s novel-in-progress. In addition to performing for Stories on Stage Davis and Sacramento, Mathews has appeared in several productions with Celebration Arts and received an Elly nomination for Best Lead Actress for her role of Marta in Sorrows and Rejoicings. She played Martha in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Sacramento Theatre Company. Mathews most enjoys the role of mom to her three children, Caleb, Jordan, and Josiah.
Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels I, the Divine (Norton) and The Hakawati (Knopf), which was an international bestseller, as well as Koolaids and The Perv (both Grove Atlantic). His novel An Unnecessary Woman (Grove) won the NCIBA Award 2014 and California Book Award 2014, and was a finalist for the National Book Award 2014, the PEN Open Book Award 2015, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and longlisted for the IMPAC Award. The French translation won the 2016 Prix Femina étranger. His most recent novel, The Angel of History (Grove Atlantic), has been nominated for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence (finalists to be announced Oct 26, 2016). Alameddine was a 2002 Guggenheim fellow. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut. (Photo by Oliver Wasow)
Bob Cooner will read an excerpt from The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine. Cooner has performed in plays and musicals in Sacramento, Chicago, New York City, Houston (his hometown), and on tour, most recently as Scottie in Tribute at the Woodland Opera House. Woodland Opera House theatergoers have also seen him as Arthur in Camelot, Georg in She Loves Me, Tateh in Ragtime, and in the musical revue Swinging on a Star. Other local productions include Assassins (Charles Guiteau) with Artistic Differences, Side by Side by Sondheim with the Actor’s Theatre of Folsom, and Love Letters (Andy) with Knockabout Stage. As a cabaret performer, Cooner has created and performed I’ve Heard That Song Before: The Songs of Sammy Cahn and Uptunes for the Downturn with musical director Sam Schieber, as well as It’s Not Too Late, By Hart: The Songs of Lorenz Hart, Two for the Road: The Travel Show, and It’s Not Me, It’s You with musical director Graham Sobelman. As a director, Cooner has helmed the Woodland Opera House productions of Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical, A Christmas Carol: The Musical, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, Noises Off, Brigadoon, Man of La Mancha, Once Upon a Mattress, and the world premiere of Second-Best Bed, written by his husband, Matthew Abergel. The world premiere of Cooner’s new retro comedy, Prime Time for the Holidays, with music by Sam Schieber, runs from October 28–November 20 at the Woodland Opera House. (Photo by Karen Alexander)