ACTORS & ARTISTS
Lucia Berlin (1936 - 2004) was a short story writer best known for her collection A Manual for Cleaning Women, which was published posthumously. Berlin produced six collections, and her work was featured in numerous publications, including The Atlantic. In addition, she was honored with the American Book Award in 1991 and won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Berlin taught creative writing at the University of Colorado, as well as the San Francisco County Jail and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.
LeVar Burton is best known for his television work, most notably on the award-winning series Roots, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Additional film and television credits include Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Ali, Community, The Big Bang Theory, Perception, and Weird City. He directed multiple episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Charmed, Perception, NCIS: New Orleans, and the Disney Channel’s Smart House. Burton’s work has been honored with the Peabody Award and numerous Image and Emmy Awards, and a Grammy. He currently hosts the podcast LeVar Burton Reads and was recently a guest host on Jeopardy!
Lydia Gaston is a New York actor and teaching artist. She has performed on Broadway in The King and I, Miss Saigon, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Shogun, and The Red Shoes. Off-Broadway, she has performed with the Shakespeare Lab at The Public, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, the National Asian American Theatre Company, Urban Stages, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Her television credits include The Blacklist, The Sopranos, The Path, and Late Night with Seth Meyers as Tiffany Yang, Presidential candidate.
Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is the author of My Monticello, five stories and a novella all set in Virginia, forthcoming from Henry Holt in October 2021, and selected by National Book award winner Charles Yu as his most anticipated book for the year. Johnson has been a fellow at TinHouse, Hedgebrook and VCCA; her writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Guernica, The Guardian, Kweli, Joyland, Phoebe, Shenandoah, Prime Number Magazine, and elsewhere. Her short story “Control Negro” was anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2018. A veteran public school art teacher, Johnson lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Friends” by Lucia Berlin, from A Manual for Cleaning Women (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015). First published in So Long (Black Sparrow Press, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Lucia Berlin. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
“Control Negro” by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, from The Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin, 2018). First appeared in Guernica (July 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. Used by permission of DeFiore and Company.