I was honored to participate in Story Is The Thing, a quarterly reading series at Kepler's Books. In a vibrant, dynamic format, this event presents seven Bay Area authors, from emerging voices to established masters.
The theme of the February 22 event was "Everything", inspired by an excerpt from Arundhati Roy's novel "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness."
“How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything.”
The evening was opened by Sumbul Ali-Karamali, who talked about personal stories that led to her book "Muslim Next Door", an engaging, accessible introduction to Islam.
Vanessa Hua followed with a reading from her riveting collection "Deceit and Other Possibilities", based on her immigrant family heritage.
I read the opening of my recently published short story "The Addition", drawn from my memories of Bosnian refugees in Serbia, in the 1990s.
Kate Petersen talked about finding inspiration in teaching at Stanford, about surprising gems that emerged from discussions on her students' problem sets.
Anne Raeff's new novel "Winter Kept Us Warm" brought back the theme of family heritage, from post-war Berlin to contemporary Morocco.
Kaitlin Solimine introduced the theme of inherited manuscripts, with an excerpt from her novel "Empire of Glass". The novel is narrated in an experimental format of the original Chinese manuscript, interwoven with footnotes from the translator. Vanessa Hua added a dimension to this inventive presentation by reading notes from the translator.
Alia Volz followed with her latest essay, also based on an inherited manuscript - a fascinating ghost story.
The evening was closed by the host Aggie Zivaljevic, who reminded us of Muriel Rukeyser's quote:
"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."