When Joshua Mohr was thirty-eight, doctors discovered a hole in his heart, which explained the three strokes he’d sustained – but not the out-of-control-drinking, the drug use, the failed marriages and the tangled, stop-and-go-life. Surgery, getting clean, and the memoir Sirens followed. This month, we’re featuring non-fiction at Stories on Stage Sacramento, and we’re excited to welcome Josh and bring you a reading from Sirens, a complex and compelling tale which The Rumpus called “poetic, touching, inspiring and deeply empathetic.”
We’re happy to say that Josh’s heart surgery was successful, and that he’s currently writing and teaching in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife and young daughter.
In addition to rave reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times, the memoir was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “entirely candid, compelling memoir of addiction and the long, fraught road of recovery…raw and tender, this book not only chronicles a man’s literary coming-of-age. It also celebrates the power of love while offering an uncensored look at the frailties that can define—and sometimes overwhelm—people and their lives.” Prior to Sirens, Mohr published five novels, including the much-praised All This Life, which won the California Book Award, Damascus, which the New York Times called “Beat-poet cool,” Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, and Termite Parade , an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times.
Appearing with Josh will be local writer James Cooper, with a reading from “The Sages of West 47th Street.” James is a practicing psychologist, which profession, he says, has “shaped him to lean in unexpected winds, to hold fast or be swept away in wonder. There is always context, amplified or subdued, a language in the hands, in posture, in the pauses between words.” But in his twenties, he drove a taxi in New York City, and the story of that experience earned him the honor of being first runner-up in the current Story Quarterly non-fiction contest.
James has received recent honors in fiction, non-fiction and poetry – in addition to the Story Quarterly recognition, he won the Tupelo Quarterly Prose Open Prize, judged by Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson, 2016, and his first collection of poetry, An Ocean Large Enough, was published this spring. His short stories and poetry have appeared in The Manhattan Review, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Gold Man Review, and in other journals and anthologies.
Our readers this month are Stories on Stage Sacramento veterans Matt Rives, Ethan Ireland and Eric Baldwin.
Now in its eighth season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction, read by actors, to a growing Sacramento audience. Our 2017 events will be held bi-monthly on the following dates: February 24, April 28, June 30, August 25, and October 27 at our new home, the auditorium at CLARA, the E Claire Raley Studio for the Arts. In addition, a special program featuring the Los Rios Writers will take place on Friday, September 29.