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New Bay Area Voices 

When: Fri., June 15, 7 p.m. 2012

If you ask Jeff Von Ward, this country is experiencing a serious "Mormon moment": There's Mitt Romney, the first viable Mormon presidential candidate in our nation's history, there's basketball player Jabari Parker's rise to fame, there's The Book of Mormon, wildly popular on Broadway and coming soon to San Francisco. Then you've got Big Love and Sister Wives. So there couldn't be a better time for Mormania, the first book from Salt Lake City native, lapsed Mormon, and recent California College of the Arts MFA graduate Von Ward. In it, Von Ward said in a recent interview, he aimed to be neither an apologist for nor a critic of the faith: "This is not a polemic," he said. "It's about the heart in conflict with itself, with characters that are either on the fringe, doubting [Mormonism] or trying to make a life inside it." He reads from the short-story collection on Friday, June 15, as part of a New Bay Area Voices showcase at Diesel (5433 College Ave., Oakland). 7 p.m., free. 510-653-9965 or DieselBookstore.com

— Ellen Cushing

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