Stories on Stage Davis presents two novels with themes of family, mystery, and love

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On Saturday, July 9, Stories on Stage Davis will present the second event of its ninth season at the Pence Art Gallery. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the event starts at 7:30. This night’s readings will feature two excerpts from novels about unexpected ways families can form.

An excerpt from the novel A Prayer for Travelers, by Ruchika Tomar, will be read by Beatriz Figueroa. In this excerpt, a young girl recounts how she came to live with her grandfather, Lamb. It starts with a disappearing mother, which sets the stage for this literary mystery to unfold.

Ruchika Tomar is a writer from the Inland Empire, California. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of California Irvine and an MFA from Columbia University. She has received fellowships from The Center for Fiction, The MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and Stanford University, where she was a Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer. Her first novel, A Prayer for Travelers, won the 2020 Pen/Hemingway Award for debut novel.

Beatriz Figueroa is a proud Mexican-American singer based in Sacramento. Through the years, she has enjoyed strengthening her musicianship through theater and dance by learning and collaborating with Teatro Nagual, IMBA, Davis Shakespeare Festival, Vacancy Arts Collective, and Thrive Movement Arts. Beatriz is very excited to read for Stories on Stage Davis for the first time and hopes to do more readings in the future. Beatriz studied Music and Sociology at Sacramento State University where she advanced her musicality and strengthened her passion for social justice. When off stage, Beatriz enjoys teaching and spending time with her husband and her dog, Quijote.

An excerpt from the novel Cormorant Lake by Faith Merino will be read by Sarah Elizabeth. This is a story that asks from the outset about what it means to be a mother. When Evelyn whisks away her neglectful roommate’s two young daughters to Evelyn’s hometown of Cormorant Lake, she must face her choices as well as the women who raised her, including Nan. Nan tells the other half of this haunting story, and this excerpt, which crackles under the surface with both mystery and love.

Faith Merino is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a graduate of the UC Davis Creative Writing Program with an MFA in fiction. She’s been supported by fellowships and scholarships to Writing By Writers, The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and The Disquiet International Literary Program. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The Indiana Review, Harpur Palate, The Carolina Quarterly, and more, in addition to inclusion as a distinguished story in The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Sacramento with her husband, sons, and animal friends.

Sarah Elizabeth is excited to be joining Stories on Stage Davis again. She is a Bay Area actress and has worked with the Davis Shakespeare Festival, Bike City Theatre Company, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Ross Valley Players, and others. She has recently been training with Voice One in San Francisco and is excited to be exploring the world of voiceover acting. You can catch some of her VO work with Bike City Theatre Company and their Radio Tuesday series.

Stories on Stage Davis is a sponsored project of YoloArts, a nonprofit arts organization. The event is free to attend, and Stories on Stage appreciates donations at the door. For more information, including previous podcast episodes and live events, go to the Stories on Stage Davis website storiesonstagedavis.com.

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