Featured Authors & Actors 10/13/18

Valeri FioravantiValerie Fioravanti is the author of the linked collection of Brooklyn stories Garbage Night at the Opera from BkMk Press, winner of the Chandra Prize for Short FictionShe is the founder of Stories on Stage Sacramento and a private writing coach. “Loud Love,” which won the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award, appears in her second (unpublished) collection Bridge & Tunnel. Fioravanti is currently hard at work on one of three in-progress novels (hangs head in shame).


Michael David LukasMichael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a night-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Translated into more than a dozen languages, his first novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, was a finalist for the California Book Award, the NCIBA Book of the Year Award, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize. His second novel,The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, was published recently by Spiegel & Grau. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, he is a recipient of scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Montalvo Arts Center, New York State Summer Writers’ Institute, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, SlateNational Geographic Traveler, and Georgia Review. He lives in Oakland and teaches at San Francisco State University.

About the Actors

Leah DohertyLeah Daugherty will read  “Loud Love” by Valerie Fioravanti. Daugherty is pleased to be making her debut at Stories on Stage. She was last seen onstage playing #8 in The Wolvesat Capital Stage. Daugherty is a proud alumna of both UC Davis, where she studied English and theatre, and the Capital Stage Apprenticeship Program. Since then she’s been a regular at the Davis Shakespeare Festival and Big Idea Theatre. She is very grateful for this opportunity and to her tribe for their support.


Matthew AbergelMatthew Abergel will read the excerpt from The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas. Abergel often performs at the Woodland Opera House Theatre, where he recently co-directed the world premiere of  Prime Time for the Holidays, written by his husband, Bob Cooner.  A former editor and community-college instructor, Abergel is the author of two books published by Simon & Schuster, and a play,  Second-Best Bed, produced by Woodland Opera House in 2014. Currently he’s putting the finishing touches on a historical novel about King James. Long ago, he studied dramatic literature and directing as a grad student at the University of Chicago and Stanford. He’s tickled as pink as a marshmallow Peep to read for Stories on Stage.


Praise for Garbage Night at the Opera


Our first event is less than two weeks away, and we’re getting excited. Here’s more great press for one of our first featured authors, Valerie Fioravanti, and her collection Garbage Night at the Opera. In the Sacramento News & Review, writer Kel Munger declares the title story, “[…] thoughtful, respectful, honest—and most importantly, a really good read.”

Read the full article, which also features local poet Tim Kahl, and join us on Saturday, September 14, to hear “Garbage Night at the Opera” read by actor Jim Lane.

Featured Writers 9/14/13

For our inaugural event, September 14th, 2013, we are featuring “Collard Greens & Baklava” by emerging author Michelle Woods, first published in the Davis publication Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, and “Garbage Night at the Opera” by Valerie Fioravanti, published by BkMk Press and winner of the Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, the IPPY Bronze medal in Short Fiction and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize.

Valerie Fioravanti

Valerie Fioravanti

Garbage Night at the Opera covers roughly 30 years in the life of one extended family as their neighborhood loses the factory jobs that supported them, languishes for a generation, then gentrifies beyond their means.

Kevin McIlvoy describes it as a book that “intimately places you inside the characters’ hearts and minds, as they reckon with what cannot be salvaged—and what can.” According to the San Francisco Book Review, Fioravanti’s characters “are real and unapologetic. Her backdrop of Brooklyn…is vivid, with language that is accessible and street as well as poetically spot on.” We have chosen to present the title story—a story that mixes despair, humor, and above all, a fighting spirit and hope.

Michelle Woods

Michelle Woods

“Collard Greens & Baklava,” the first chapter of a novella, explores the experiences of  Latreece, a woman who is rebuilding her life after ending an uninspired marriage. In search of community, she joins the Prayer Walking and Outdoor Communion Committee of a local church. But instead of communing with nature, she finds herself contemplating questions about identity, intimacy, and society’s unease with single women. Michelle Woods’ fiction has been published in the Sacramento News and Review and the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review. Her short story “Dirty Water” will be featured in the upcoming Sacramento Stories on Stage season. She is a graduate of the California State University, Sacramento, creative writing program and currently lives in Davis.