Michelle Wing

Cloverdale resident Michelle Wing, pictured above, will be one of the featured authors in the first season of the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center’s Books on Stage program.

Lovers of books and the spoken word, take note – there’s a new gig coming to Cloverdale that promises to entertain, enlighten and expand horizons.

The Cloverdale Performing Arts Center (CPAC) is launching its first season of Books on Stage beginning in July, a series of live author readings held at the theater located downtown on Cloverdale Boulevard.

The concept is simple. Every other month on a Thursday evening starting at 7 p.m., two selected writers will appear, one a poet, the other a writer of prose (fiction, memoir or nonfiction). The authors will each have 30 minutes to read aloud from their work on stage, followed by a five- to 10-minute question and answer period. There will be a brief intermission between the two presenters. After the two readings, the audience and the authors will adjourn to the lobby for book sales and signings, refreshments, more questions, and general hobnobbing and socializing.

Dobie Edmunds, CPAC board member and liaison for the Books on Stage project, said there are three reasons she is excited about the new venture.

“One, I love being read to,” she said. “Second, I think it’s another way people in our community can come together for such a shared experience. And third, it’s a way we can try to serve artists and writers in our community, who really work for no money at all – they work for the enjoyment of art, the production of art – but it’s a hard way to make a living.”

The project was proposed by local author Michelle Wing; she will serve as emcee and host. The events are free and open to the public. Here’s the line-up for 2014:

July 10: Poet Katherine Hastings and Novelist Gilbert Mansergh

Katherine Hastings is the author of “Nighthawks and Cloud Fire” as well as several chapbooks. Her work has been published in many literary journals and anthologies, as well as “The Book of Forms – A Handbook of Poetics.” The executive director of the non-profit WordTemple, Hastings curates the WordTemple Poetry Series and hosts WordTemple on NPR affiliate KRCB FM. She is serving as Sonoma County Poet Laureate for the years 2014–2016.  

Gilbert Mansergh is the prolific author of more than 60 nonfiction books and a trilogy of historical novels incorporating family stories. “The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill” is currently in bookstores, and “Hollywood Beau” is being edited for publication. He writes a movie column, “Screenings,” for Sonoma West Publishers. He is also the host/producer of the Word By Word: Conversations With Writers radio show on Sonoma County’s NPR station, KRCB-FM.

Sept. 4: Poet Michelle Wing and Novelist Amanda McTigue

Michelle Wing published her first book of poetry, “Body on the Wall,” in May. She is the founder of the YWCA Sonoma County’s Changing Hurt to Hope: Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, and is currently editing an anthology of those writings, due out in October. She lives in Cloverdale with her wife and a menagerie, and she is always accompanied by Ripley, her service dog. Her blogs can be found at http://michellewing.com/.

Amanda McTigue is a storyteller on the page and for the stage. Last fall, her debut novel, “Going to Solace,” was selected as one of the Best Reads of 2012 by Gil Mansergh, host of Word by Word. She co-hosts the Aqus Literary Speakeasy Saloon in Petaluma. A collection of new short stories – working title, “Convergence” – is due in 2015. Her second novel – working title, “Monkey Bottom” – is due in 2016.

Nov. 6: Poet Ruth Thompson and Novelist Don Mitchell

Ruth Thompson is the author of “Woman With Crows” and “Here Along Cazenovia Creek.” “Woman with Crows” was a finalist for the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s To the Lighthouse Prize, and includes poems that won the New Millennium Writings Award and the Harpur Palate Milton Kessler prize. Thompson lives in Hilo, Hawai’i with writer-anthropologist Don Mitchell. She teaches writing, and meditation, yoga and writing workshops, and blogs about happiness at www.ruththompson.net/.

Don Mitchell is an ecological anthropologist, write, and photographer who lived among the Nagovisi people of Bougainville Island in the southwestern Pacific for several years in the 1960s and 1970s. Mitchell grew up in Hilo, on the island of Hawai’i. His fiction has won a Pushcart nomination and other awards. In 2013 he published his story collection “A Red Woman Was Crying.” Mitchell lives in Hilo, Hawai’i, with the poet Ruth Thompson.

For more information about these and other events, go to the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center website at cloverdaleperformingarts.com.

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