Liars, Thieves and Other Sinners on the Bench
“Haunting and funny, full of folk wisdom and unfl inching honesty.”—Publishers Weekly, on the work of Jo Carson
“She is a quintessential community artist with a true ear for the way people talk and what they really mean to say. Her work has inspired innumerable young artists to take up work with their own communities.”—Linda Frye Burnham, Community Arts Network
“Human experience is varied and astonishing,” notes Jo Carson, “and this is a taste.” A uniquely American writer and performer, Carson has spent fifteen years working with peoples’ stories in communities across the country, crafting more than thirty plays from the oral histories she has collected. In performance, these works have illuminated and invigorated the communities in which they were forged, as the people see themselves onstage in a new light. This book collects Carson’s favorite excerpts from the plays—stories that range from the homespun to the extraordinary and together create a portrait of America in an amazing diversity and authenticity of voices. They are slices of life, passed beyond the circle of family and neighbors.
Jo Carson is a writer and performer living in John City, Tennessee. She has published award-winning plays, short stories, children’s books, essays, poems, and other work, and for years was a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Her play Whispering to Horses and solo show If God Came Down . . . premiered at Seven Stages Theatre in Atlanta, and her book of monologues and dialogues, Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet, made Booklist’s editor’s choice and the American Library Association’s recommended list.