Shobha 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.
Alyssa 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!
Esmé 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)
Joy 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.