May 12th Yuba Lit Spotlights Women Writers

For our May installment, Yuba Lit is thrilled to present acclaimed fiction writer Caille Millner, author of The Golden Road: Notes on my Gentrification, a memoir based on her experience as an African-American woman growing up in a Latino neighborhood in San Jose. Her short fiction has appeared in Zyzzyva and Joyland, as well as in The Best American Short Stories anthology of 2016—as edited by Junot Diaz. Her essays have been in Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Her awards include the Barnes and Noble Emerging Writers Award and the undergraduate Rona Jaffe award for fiction.

Millner will be joined by powerhouse mother/daughter duo Staajabu (which translates to “wonder” in Swahili) and Dr. V.S. Chochezi. Also known as Straight Out Scribes, Staajabu and Chochezi have published 7 books of activist poetry and performed their work throughout the nation. They have also produced and coordinated a number of literary arts programs in the greater Sacramento area since 1991. Inspired by their dynamism, The Crocker Art Museum invited Straight Out Scribes to write poems that corresponded to the Walter O. Evans collection of African American art, resulting in the 2014 collection African Reflections.

The evening’s third featured reader is local poet and novelist Judie Rae, whose non-fiction essays have appeared in the Sacramento Bee, Sierra Heritage, Tahoe Quarterly, and Outside California. She has also published three young adult novels and her poetry has been published in Nimrod, Wisconsin Review, Canary Online Literary Magazine, and Mudfish. In 2014, Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, The Weight of Roses, available now at the Open Book.

In addition to our three featured readers, audience members are encouraged to bring a page or a poem for our opening flash readings. Any audience member who brings a poem or a page will be given a raffle ticket; five readers will be drawn from the raffle, and given the mike for three minutes each to read their work.

Yuba Lit starts 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12th at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley. Fifty percent of the $5-$10 sliding scale cover (no one turned away for lack of funds) will benefit the ACLU. Local wine from Nevada City Winery and Szabo Winery will be served and Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters will offer coffee, tea, and fresh food for sale. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at For more about Yuba Lit, visit

More on Yuba Lit’s May Readers:


Caille Millner is, in addition to an acclaimed fiction and non-fiction writer, an editorial writer and Datebook columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. On the editorial board, she covers a wide range of topics including business, finance, technology, education and local politics. For Datebook, she writes a weekly column on culture. She is the recipient of the Scripps-Howard Foundation’s Walker Stone Award in Editorial Writing and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Editorial Writing Award.


Staajabu was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Camden, NJ. She is a writer, editor, producer, poet, health advocate, graphic artist, Air Force veteran, UC Davis retiree and serves on the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commission. Dr. V.S. Chochezi was born in Riverside, CA and raised in Camden, NJ. She earned a BA from Delaware State College, an MA from CSUS Sacramento and a doctorate in Education from Drexel University in Sacramento. She is a writer, poet, editor, photojournalist, and college professor.

Judie Rae

Judie Rae, Nevada County local, earned her Masters of Professional Writing from USC. Aside from concentrating on her own projects, she helps other writers achieve their goals by teaching writing-related courses for seniors through the Osher Foundation. She also serves on the literary committee for the Nevada County Arts Council, which seeks to provide a venue where local writers and poets can have their works heard.

A community reading series celebrating great writing in the Sierra foothills, Yuba Lit launched September 2015 with a program featuring novelists Joshua Mohr and Christian Kiefer, and poet Molly Fisk. Subsequent Yuba Lits have featured novelists Janis Cooke Newman, Louis B. Jones, and Josh Weil, memoirists Frances Stroh and Cris Mulvey, and poets Indigo Moor and Eugene Berson among many other readers, consistently drawing robust audiences.

Fifty percent of Yuba Lit’s May proceeds will benefit the ACLU.

Yuba Lit was founded and is produced by Nevada City memoirist and fiction writer Rachel Howard. Co-producer Dr. Angela Sells, a non-fiction author and women’s studies professor, is lead producer for May. If you’d like to volunteer or join our mailing list, please email Rachel at rachel (dot) howard (at) gmail (dot) com. You can learn more about Rachel at

Yuba Lit’s website is You can keep in touch with us on Facebook at

Thanks to our home venue, The Open Book, and to Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters. Learn more about our May beneficiary, the ACLU, at