Live Short Story Reading with Court Dorsey



Sunderland Public Library (20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375, Sunderland MA)

Sunderland Short Story Series Returns after a Long Hiatus

Actor Court Dorsey reads “The Face in the Mirror,” by Mohsin Hamid

The Sunderland Public Library’s popular short story series is back, live and in person, after a three-year, pandemic-induced hiatus.  The program will feature actor Court Dorsey of Wendell and will take place on Wednesday, May 31, at 6:30 PM.  It will also be a featured event of the 2023 Community Read organized by “Libraries in the Woods,” a group of 25 public libraries in Franklin county.  This year, all 25 communities are invited to read *The Last White Man,* a novel by Mohsin Hamid.

The Sunderland Public Library premiered its short story series in November 2016, describing it as a “story hour for grownups.”  It engages talented, local actors to perform dramatic readings of short stories across a wide range of topics and genres.

Aaron Falbel, Head of Adult Services at the Sunderland Public Library, spearheaded the short story series and is thrilled to revive it this spring.  “This program has been sorely missed by many patrons.  They have been asking me when it will return.  We did try one event over Zoom in January of 2021, and although that went quite well, it just wasn’t the same as having a live audience.  Actors know how perform before a camera, to be sure, but nothing beats connecting with an audience right there in front of you.”

The event on May 31 will be a hybrid program, meaning that audience members can participate either in person at the Library or from the comfort of their homes over Zoom.  “We realize that some people still aren’t comfortable attending in-person programs,” said Katherine Umstot, Director of the Sunderland Public Library, “and we want to respect that.  The Town of Sunderland just purchased a new camera for us that will make such hybrid programs possible.  We are excited about being able to offer this to our patrons.  We want everyone to be able to participate while also staying safe.”

Actor Court Dorsey of Wendell will read “The Face in the Mirror,” a short story by Hamid originally published in the *New Yorker* based on his novel, *The Last White Man,.*  As with the book, the story describes a mysterious disease that causes a darkening of the complexion of white people.  The protagonist, Anders, deals with his new identity as a person of color and expresses a whole range of emotions.  The ingenious plot is a provocative one, with obvious racial overtones.  It literally puts white people in the shoes of people of color.  It is an eye-opening story.

Mr. Dorsey is an accomplished actor who has performed widely throughout the Pioneer Valley and with more than three dozen theater companies across North America and Europe. Dorsey is perhaps best known as the creative force behind “Project Unspeakable,” a theatrical performance that looks at the political meanings behind the assassinations of JFK, RFK, M.L. King, and Malcolm X.  For several seasons, he has played William Cullen Bryant at Bryant’s homestead in Cummington, MA.  Mr. Dorsey also works as mediator with the Collaborative Resolutions Group in Greenfield.

Falbel adds, “Court Dorsey is one of the most talented performers in the valley today.  He is simply a treasure.  I recently saw him perform at Mt Toby Friends Meeting in Leverett, where he sang songs accompanied by his banjo and recited original poetry and short stories before an enthralled audience.  He was in top form and shows no sign of slowing down.  He has read stories for us here in Sunderland numerous times, and each time I find myself in awe of the way he can make these stories come alive.  Librarians read stories all the time, of course, but Mr. Dorsey takes it to an entirely different level.  That’s what a talented actor can do.  I am especially eager to see what Court will do with this provocative, emotionally laden story.”

Katherine Umstot agrees.  “Court Dorsey has yet to disappoint us.  What he can do to a story, bringing out the emotional content and subtle nuances of the words on a page, is simply magical.  We are so lucky to have him offer this program here in Sunderland as part of the Libraries in the Woods Community Read.  I am sure many will want to come enjoy this dramatic performance of Mohsin Hamid’s story.”

Those who wish to enjoy this program from their homes can register on the Library’s website,  They will then receive the Zoom link.  In-person attendees do not need to register.  This event is sponsored through the generosity of the Friends of the Sunderland Public Library.


For more information, please contact:

Katherine Umstot, Library Director


Aaron Falbel, Head of Adult Services