James Goldberg

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James Goldberg
James Goldberg, Mormon author.jpg
Occupation
Alma materBrigham Young University
Genres
Subjects
Notable awardsAML Award (2008, 2012)
Years active2012-current
SpouseNicole Wilkes Goldberg
Website
goldbergish.com

James Goldberg is an American historian, playwright, poet, and writer. He has Jewish, European, and Punjabi ancestors, and his grandfather, Gurcharan Singh Gill, was the first Sikh to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He attended Otterbein University briefly before transferring to Brigham Young University (BYU), where he completed his undergraduate work and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. He was an adjunct professor at BYU.

He founded two organizations: the Mormon Lit Blitz (with his wife, Nicole Wilkes Goldberg) and the theatrical company, New Play Project. He is a contributor to the Saints history project with the LDS Church, writing content for the volumes in the series. He is on the board for the Association of Mormon Letters (AML), and served as its president from 2020 to 2021. He won three AML awards, and was a finalist for three others. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from BYU.

He has published two novels, four collections of poetry, and two other books.

Biography[edit]

Goldberg's grandfather, Gurcharan Singh Gill, was the first to emigrate to the United States from the Indian side of his family, and the first Sikh to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In an op-ed on chain migration, he asserted that his relatives were able to make significant contributions to society because they followed their grandfather to the US.[1]

He attended Otterbein University, pausing his schooling to serve a two-year mission for the LDS Church in the East Germany mission from 2002 to 2004.[2] After his mission, he returned to Otterbein and found that tuition had increased dramatically. Since his scholarship was in a fixed amount, he only stayed for one semester before transferring to Brigham Young University (BYU) in January 2006 to finish his undergraduate degree in playwriting and directing.[3][4] He also completed an MFA in creative writing at BYU.[2] He later taught at BYU for a short time.[3][date missing]

Goldberg credits much of his inspiration to his diverse cultural heritage. He has Jewish, European, and Punjabi ancestors, and some from the Mormon colonies in Mexico. He considers himself a Jewish-Sikh-Mormon.[5][6] His personal essay, "Why I Hate White Jesus", won an honorable mention from the Eugene England Memorial Contest in 2019. The essay discusses the distinctness of his "Semitic-Sikh" features. Occasionally, he will sit for biblical paintings in the hopes that his unique features will increase diversity in LDS art.[7] He claims that belief and art work together, and that "being an artist requires a belief in art."[5]

He lives in Utah with his wife, who is currently an adjunct BYU faculty member,[8] and their four children.[9]

Projects[edit]

Goldberg co-founded the Mormon Lit Blitz with his wife, Nicole Wilkes Goldberg, and Scott Hales shortly after receiving his MFA from BYU.[9][10] It is an annual writing competition for Mormon microliterature.[10] He also ran the Everyday Mormon Writer website.[2]

He co-founded New Play Project, a nonprofit theater company, with fellow writer Arisael Rivera in April 2006.[5] Their artistic goals included sharing religious (specifically LDS) stories in a "human, grounded way." Their first show went up on BYU's campus. As the company grew, Goldberg and Rivera decided to expand their audience and move off BYU's campus. Their next productions were hosted in the local Provo City Library, but expansion of the company led them to the Provo Theatre Company facility.[5] He led the project from 2006 to 2009.[2]

Goldberg is a contributing writer to the LDS Church's Saints project, a series of books detailing the history of the church. He called the project a "seismic shift in how Latter-day Saints are approaching our history".[11] He stated that in the past, oral histories depicted the most inspirational stories about historical figures, which were then transformed into heroic arcs for film where historical figures became "mascots" for Mormon virtues. The internet allowed for a more nuanced view of history with multiple voices, and in that tradition, Saints is an exploration of complex individuals and their history within the LDS Church.[11] He contributed to the first (2018) and second (2020) volumes.[12][13]

He is on the board for the Association of Mormon Letters (AML), serving as president from 2020 to 2021.[14][15] His works Prodigal Son (2008), The Five Books of Jesus (2012), "Thorns and Thistles" (2019) have won AML awards.[16][17]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • The Five Books of Jesus (September 2012, self-published, ISBN 9781479271306)[18]
  • The Bollywood Lovers' Club with Janci Patterson (July 2021, Garden Ninja Books, ISBN 979-8-5251-9557-8)

Poetry collections[edit]

As contributor[edit]

Saints
  1. The Standard of Truth: 1815-1846 (January 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ISBN 9781629724928)[12]
  2. No Unhallowed Hand: 1846-1893 (January 2020, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ISBN 9781629726489)[13]

As editor[edit]

  • Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants with Matthew McBride (August 2016, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ISBN 978-1-4651-1885-1)[20]

Theatrical and dramatic works[edit]

  • Prodigal Son (2008, theatrical play)[21]
  • Thorns and Thistles: A Concert of Literature with Nicole Wilkes Goldberg; directed by Ariel Rivera; music by Nicole Pinnell (June 2019, Center for Latter-day Saint Arts Festival, New York City)[17]

Other works[edit]

  • The First Five-Dozen Tales of Razia Shah and Other Stories (October 2019, Beant Kaur Books, ISBN 978-1695025226)
  • Remember the Revolution! (October 2019, Beant Kaur Books, ISBN 978-1695244900)

Awards and recognition[edit]

Goldberg has been nominated for and won multiple awards for his various works.

Year Organization Award title,
Category
Work Result Refs
2008 Association for Mormon Letters AML Award,
Drama
Prodigal Son Won [21][16]
2012 AML Award,
Novel
The Five Books of Jesus Won [22][16]
2015 AML Award,
Poetry
Let Me Drown With Moses Finalist [23][16]
2019 AML Award,
Creative Non-Fiction
Remember the Revolution: Mormon Essays and Stories Finalist [17]
AML Award,
Criticism
"Wrestling with God: Invoking Scriptural Mythos in LDS Literary Work" in Remember the Revolution: Mormon Essays and Stories Finalist [17]
AML Award,
Special Award in Literature and Performance
Thorns and Thistles: A Concert of Literature Won [17]
Eugene England Memorial Contest - "Why I Hate White Jesus" Honorable Mention [7]
2021 Association for Mormon Letters AML Award,
Short Fiction
"Between Glory and Ruin" Finalist [24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldberg, James (February 10, 2018). "Op-ed: Why I support chain migration". Deseret News. Archived from the original on March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "James Goldberg". Now Playing Utah!. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Pelham, Whitney; Goldberg, James (June 4, 2014). Mormon Writer Podcast - James Goldberg (podcast). Mormon Writer Podcast. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  4. ^ Goldberg, James (February 9, 2010). "My Beard & BYU: Part Two". Caucajewmexdian. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Crowder, Ben (September 2008). "James Goldberg — Mormon Artist". mormonartist.net. Archived from the original on February 21, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  6. ^ "Mormon Literature & Creative Arts: James Goldberg". Mormon Literature & Creative Arts Database. Archived from the original on February 17, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Carter, Stephen (December 18, 2019). "2019 Eugene England Memorial Personal Essay Contest Winners". Sunstone Magazine. Archived from the original on February 24, 2022. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  8. ^ "Nicole Wilkes Goldberg". BYU Humanities. Archived from the original on April 14, 2022. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Goldberg, James. "James Goldberg". James Goldberg. Archived from the original on March 1, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Quist, Jennifer (December 10, 2021). "Q&A with James Goldberg, Co-founder of Mormon Lit Blitz". The Dialogue Journal. Archived from the original on February 25, 2022. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  11. ^ a b Stack, Peggy Fletcher. "New volume of 'Saints' reveals the many sides of Brigham Young". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on February 25, 2022. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Contributors: Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: Volume 1: The Standard of Truth, 1815–1846". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Contributors: Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand, 1846–1893". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  14. ^ "Officers picked for literary group". Deseret News. March 14, 2010. Archived from the original on March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  15. ^ Morris, William (December 16, 2021). "Association for Mormon Letters names playwright Melissa Leilani Larson as president". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Archived from the original on December 16, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  16. ^ a b c d "Award Bibliography: James Goldberg". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  17. ^ a b c d e Hall, Andrew (March 2, 2020). "2019 AML Award Winners". The Dawning of a Brighter Day. Archived from the original on February 19, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  18. ^ Whitmer, Mike (April 14, 2013). "Book review: 'The Five Books of Jesus' is a fictional look at the life of Jesus and his disciples". Deseret News. Archived from the original on March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  19. ^ Whitley, Edward (November 2, 2021). "Book of Mormon Poetry James Goldberg, A Book of Lamentations". The Dialogue Journal. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  20. ^ McBride, Matthew; Goldberg, James (eds.). "Revelations in Context - Title Page". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Archived from the original on October 26, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  21. ^ a b "AML Awards 2008 – 2009". The Dawning of a Brighter Day. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  22. ^ "AML Awards 2012". The Dawning of a Brighter Day. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  23. ^ Hall, Andrew (March 5, 2016). "2015 AML Award Winners". The Dawning of a Brighter Day. Archived from the original on December 31, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  24. ^ "2021 AML Awards Finalists #1: Novels and Short Fiction". Dawning of a Brighter Day. June 17, 2022. Archived from the original on June 17, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2022.