Featuring "Her First Detox", "Emergency Room Notebook 1977", "Unmanageable", "502", "Here It Is Saturday" 

February 14 - March 11 in Z Below

Wry, electric commentary on the dark corners, the everyday, and the oft-overlooked, these five Bay Area stories from Berlin’s posthumous A Manual for Cleaning Women illuminate her insightful, compassionate view of American society. Set to an evocative jazz score (Marcus Shelby, composer), these witty stories feature complex women balancing motherhood, relationships, and a working life.

"In the field of short fiction, Lucia Berlin is one of America's best-kept secrets. That's it. Flat out. No mitigating conditions."
—Paul Metcalf

Directed by Nancy Shelby and JoAnne Winter


March 4th - "Be With Us" Benefit and 25th Anniversary Celebration

This installment of Lucia Berlin: Stories is a special benefit show. In addition to the show, those attending will be treated to drink and hors d'oeuvres in your seats, a post-show talk back with the entire Word for Word charter group, and a retrospective slide show with your favorite moments from Word for Word's history. Celebrate all that we've achieved and help us ring in the next 25 years of Word for Word.


Press Resources

The dedicated press agent for this show is David Hyry, who can be reached at

Author's Biography

Lucia Berlin (1936-2004, pronunciation: Lu-see-a) published 77 short stories during her lifetime. Most, but not all, were collected in three volumes from Black Sparrow Press: Homesick (1991), So Long (1993), and Where I Live Now (1999). These gathered from previous collections of 1980, 1984, and 1987, and presented newer work.

Early publication commenced when she was twenty-four, in Saul Bellow's journal The Noble Savage and in The New Strand. Later stories appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, New American Writing, and countless smaller magazines. Homesick won an American Book Award.

Berlin worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and most of the 1980s. By the late '80s, her four sons were grown and she had overcome a lifelong problem with alcoholism (her accounts of its horrors, its drunk tanks and DTs and occasional hilarity, occupy a particular corner of her work). Thereafter she remained productive up to the time of her early death.