Gratitude and the Power of Fiction

OnGratitude

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 10/8/16

Shobha RaoShobha Rao moved to the U.S. from India at the age of seven. She is the winner of the 2014 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, awarded by Nimrod International Journal. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook and is the recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation fellowship. Her story “Kavitha and Mustafa” was chosen by T.C. Boyle for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories 2015. She lives in San Francisco.

Carmiel BanaskyCarmiel Banasky is the author of the novel The Suicide of Claire Bishop (Dzanc, 2015), which Publishers Weekly calls “an intellectual tour de force.” Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Guardian, American Short Fiction, Slice, Guernica, PEN America, The Rumpus, and on NPR, among other places. She earned her MFA from Hunter College, where she also taught creative writing. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf, Ucross, Ragdale, Artist Trust, I-Park, and other foundations. After four years on the road at writing residencies, she now teaches in Los Angeles. She is from Portland, Oregon.

Mariana SedaMariana Seda will read “An Unrestored Woman” by Shobha Rao. Hailing from the Midwest, she has a BA in literature with a minor in performing arts from Iowa State University. After moving to the Davis/Sacramento area six years ago, she has been involved with numerous theater companies and productions. Most recently she played Julia in Two Gentlemen Of Verona (Big Idea Theatre Company) and Nina in In The Heights (Green Valley Theatre Company). Other previous roles include Wendla in Spring Awakening (GVTC), Rachel Jackson in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (GVTC), Queen Anne/Catesby in Richard III (BIT), Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Iowa State University), Mama Rose in Gypsy (ISU), Cristina Kahlo in Frida (Teatro Espejo/Teatro Nagual), and Magenta in the Rocky Horror Picture Show (GVTC). In addition to performing, she also recently directed The Light in the Piazza (GVTC) and [title of show] (GVTC). Thanks to all involved in this great project!

Evan WhiteEvan White will read “The Late Music of Morton Howell” by Carmiel Banasky. White is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. Since 2011 he has read many original stories on programs on KDVS 90.3 FM, the UC Davis campus and community radio station. He has appeared as a reader at both the Poetry Night Reading Series and the Sacramento Poetry Center’s “Foam at the Mouth” reading series. As an undergraduate he co-founded Absurd Publications and published an anthology of poetry and short fiction, All the Vegetarians in Texas Have Been Shot, in addition to the creative journal The Oddity, of which there were seven issues. Currently he works as a graphic designer at UC Davis, and for the Sacramento-based literary magazine Under the Gum Tree.