Music Hall's 'Writers in the Loft' Series to Welcome RUMI'S SECRET Writer Brad Gooch

Music Hall's 'Writers in the Loft' Series to Welcome RUMI'S SECRET Writer Brad Gooch

On Thursday, February 2, The Music Hall will welcome the award-winning and bestselling biographer Brad Gooch to its celebrated Writers in the Loft series.

Gooch will discuss his new work, RUMI'S SECRET: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love, in which he explores the life and writing of the 13th-century Persian Sufi, whose poetry has captured the hearts and minds of contemporary western readers including Madonna, Deepak Chopra and Oliver Stone. Join Brad Gooch for this exploration-travelogue following the true life of this religious leader, professor-turned-poet and whirling mystic.

The 7pm event includes an author presentation and moderated Q+A, plus book signing and meet-and-greet. It will be held at the Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"Rumi's poetry takes us to a mystical ancient realm and now to learn of his life will be nothing short of amazing. His words, his spiritual wisdom are loved by so many around the world because of their enduring relevance," said Executive Director Patricia Lynch, also the moderator of the evening.

"Don't miss hearing from Brad Gooch about his remarkable journey following in the poet's footsteps through such Middle Eastern holy cities as Tehran and Aleppo," she added.


In this breakthrough biography, Brad Gooch (author of Smash Cut, Flannery, and City Poet) brilliantly brings to life the man and puts a face to the name Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet revered by contemporary Western readers. The Sufi mystic has been compared to Shakespeare for his outpouring of creativity and to Saint Francis of Assisi for his spiritual wisdom. Yet his life has long remained the stuff of legend rather than intimate knowledge.

Vividly coloring Rumi's time and place, Brad Gooch traces this epic 2,500-mile journey from Central Asia, where the poet was born in 1207 to Konya, Turkey, after his family was displaced by Mongol terror. The disruptive appearance of Shams of Tabriz was pivotal to Rumi's metamorphosis, who taught him to whirl and transformed him from a respectable Muslim preacher into a poet and mystic. Their vital connection as teacher and pupil, friend and beloved, is one of the world's greatest spiritual love stories. When Shams disappeared, Rumi coped with the pain of separation by composing joyous poems of reunion, both human and divine.

In researching RUMI'S SECRET, Gooch himself traveled the poet's path, recalling: "The map of Rumi's life extends over 2,500 miles, and so I traveled to Iran (twice), Turkey (thrice), Syria, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. These travels included some close calls, such as finding myself in Aleppo, Syria, the week the civil war broke out; being detained by police while visiting Rumi's possible birthplace in Tajikistan; and nearly detained for taking a photograph outside of the Ministry of Culture in Tehran."

Ambitious, bold, and beautifully written, RUMI'S SECRET reveals the unfolding of Rumi's devotion to a "religion of love," remarkable in his own time and even more relevant for the twenty-first century.


Brad Gooch is the author of Smash Cut: A Memoir of Howard & Art & the 70s and the 80s and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller. His previous books include City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara; Godtalk: Travels in Spiritual America; as well as three novels, a story collection, a volume of poems, and two memoirs. A Guggenheim fellow in biography, he has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and a Furthermore grant in publishing from the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

The ticket package for Writers in the Loft: Brad Gooch on Thursday, February 2, at 7pm is $43 ($41, members). In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of RUMI'S SECRET: the Life of the Sufi Poet of Love ($28.99, hardcover), a bar beverage, and book signing meet-and-greet. Packages can be purchased through The Music Hall Box Office, located at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, over the phone at 603.436.2400, or online at

Akin to The Music Hall's anchor literary series, Writers on a New England Stage, Writers in the Loft features bestselling authors in a smaller, more intimate space. The series brings audiences today's top authors, the best of fiction and nonfiction, and award-winners across categories. The evening package includes a reserved seat and bar beverage, author presentation and Q+A, a copy of the book, and a meet-and-greet book signing with the featured writer.

The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus - one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures Program, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner, recently named "best performing arts venue" by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence.

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