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This Is What It Sounds Like

(formally known as When Doves Cry)

Represented by Jet Literary

“At once heartbreaking and exhilarating, vulnerable and wise, Emily Stern’s debut memoir excavates layers of personal, familial, and societal trauma with raw candor. Stern conjures the violence and splendor of growing up wild and wanting in a 1980s/’90s landscape of Reagan and rage, hair dye and heartache, Doc Martens and doctor’s visits. By illuminating the intimacy of brutality with a casual intensity, ‘This Is What It Sounds Like’ shows us the dangerous route to compassion.”

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of The End of San Francisco




“Emily Stern’s extraordinary memoir, ‘This Is What It Sounds Like’ evokes an era of drugs, sex, suicide, abuse, music, and the first awareness of HIV/AID’s in the ‘80’s through Stern’s powerful and vulnerable voice as an adolescent/teenager. It’s a masterpiece of writing without embellishment, both hypnotic and heartbreaking. This is one book you won’t stop reading. Unforgettable and necessary!”

Meg Tuite, author of “Bound By Blue”


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“Emily’s acute telling of her mother’s unresolved life, brings the reader to the heat of 1980’s Bohemian Chicago when freedom and chaos easily became confused. Those who lived had time to sort things out, the others left us behind to do their work. ‘This Is What It Sounds Like’ by Emily Stern is an expression of that deep kind of love where we face the conflicts our most adored were unable to confront. Readers will be enriched by the result.”

Sarah Schulman, author of The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, Rat Bohemia, and co-produced UNITED IN ANGER: A HISTORY OF ACT UP.


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Read an excerpt of This Is What It Sounds Like– Emily Stern in Entropy Magazine

Meg Tuite interviews Emily Stern on Connotation Press

StoryCorps interview between Byron Aspaas and Emily Stern about Emily’s memoir, This Is What It Sounds Like (aka When Doves Cry), and her mother’s death from complications of AIDS in 1993.

Listen to it here:



Women Who Inspire

The Tattooed Poets Project

Never Forget

Yucca Blooming in The Portland Review. Buy a copy here.

Bizarro anthology Fireside Popsicles—read more about it here.




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