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Story Is the Thing

  • Kepler's Books 1010 El Camino Real Menlo Park, CA, 94025 United States (map)
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Join us on Thursday, February 22nd for our quarterly reading series - Story is the Thing - that highlights established authors and stars on the rise. This evening, we'll showcase a dynamic and diverse group of seven women writers reading on the theme "Everything": Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Vanessa Hua, Ksenia Lakovic, Kate Petersen, Anne Raeff, Kaitlin Solimine, and Alia Volz.

Sumbul Ali-Karamali is the author of "The Muslim Next Door: the Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing,"Bronze Medal Winner of the 2009 Independent Publisher's Awards, and "Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam." Read more about her at

Vanessa Hua is the author of DECEIT AND OTHER POSSIBILITIES, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and a finalist for the California Book Award. A columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, she has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She received a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights Reporting, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists’ Association. Her novel, A RIVER OF STARS, is forthcoming (Ballantine, August 2018.)

Ksenia Lakovic grew up in Belgrade, Serbia, earned a PhD at UCLA, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has recently completed her first novel, about life in Belgrade between the 1990s and today, and the Yugoslav diaspora.

Kate Petersen lives in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in New England Review, Kenyon Review, Zyzzyva, Epoch, Paris Review Daily, LitHub, and elsewhere. She is a former recipient of a Wallace Stegner fellowship and a Pushcart Prize, and currently teaches at Stanford University as a Jones Lecturer in creative writing.

Anne Raeff’s stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica among other places. Her first novel CLARA MONDSCHEIN’S MELANCHOLIA was published in 2002 (MacAdam/Cage). Her short story collection, THE JUNGLE AROUND US won the 2015 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and will be published in October 2016. She is proud to be a high school teacher and works primarily with recent immigrants. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and two cats.

Kaitlin Solimine's debut novel, EMPIRE OF GLASS, was a finalist for the 2017 Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Her fiction and non-fiction has been published in National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Guernica Magazine, Kartika Review, The Huffington Post, China Daily, and numerous anthologies. Kaitlin is co-founder of Hippo Reads, a network connecting academic insights and scholars to the wider public. She resides in San Francisco with her husband and daughter where she was a 2016 SF Grotto Writing Fellow and is Associate Producer of the childbirth documentary, Of Woman Born.

Alia Volz is a native daughter of San Francisco. You'll find her work in The Best American Essays 2017, Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California, The New York Times, Tin House, Threepenny Review, Nowhere Magazine, Utne Reader, New England Review and the anthology Dig If You Will The Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince. SF Weekly named her among “Best Writers without a Book in San Francisco.” To make up for that, she's currently working on a book.