Literary Works Based on Jonestown

Articles from the jonestown report which discuss a number of the works listed below appear in the Jonestown in the Arts section, both on the Fiction and Literature page and the Theater & Opera page.


Fondakowski, Leigh, with Greg Pierotti, Stephen Wangh, and Margo Hall. The People’s Temple. Premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre Berkeley, CA, April 2005. Additional productions at the Perseverance Theater in Juneau, AK; The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN; and the Puzzle Piece Theatre in Detroit, MI; and Yankton high School in Yankton, SD, among others.

Hutchinson, Sikivu, writer and director. White Nights, Black Paradise. Los Angeles: Zephyr Theater, 2018.

Reston, James Jr. “Jonestown Express.” Plays in Process 5, no. 10 (1984).

Shojaei, Mohammad, director. 1978. Performed by the Bit Theater Group in Iran, 2016–2017.

White, Ken. “My Father’s House: A Play in Three Acts.” Published in the jonestown report 15 (November 2013).

Williams, Jamal, writer and director. Bloodlines to Oblivion. Julian Theatre Company: 1983. Reviews by Annie Dawid and Aaron Duggan.


Buford O’Shea, Teri. Jonestown Lullaby. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2011.

D’Aguiar, Fred. Bill of Rights. London: Chatto and Windus, 1998.

Gilkes, Michael. Joanstown and Other Poems. Leeds, U.K.: Peepal Tree, 2002. Review by Rebecca Moore.

Gillespie, Carmen. Jonestown: A Vexation. Detroit, MI: Lotus Press, 2011.

Hirschman, Jack. The Jonestown Arcane. Los Angeles: Parentheses Writing Series, 1991.

Lambrev, Garrett. Dogstar and Poems from Other Planets. Berkeley, CA: Beatitude Press, 2007.

McCuistian, Washington S. A Jonestown for Worms: New Poems. Louisville, KY: Wasteland Press, 2005.

Parker, Pat. Jonestown and Other Madness. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1985. (The text of the title poem is here (1985); her reading of the poem is here.)

scott, darlene anita. Jonestown poetry (published on Alternative Considerations website).

Sutherland, Fraser. Jonestown. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland and Stewart, 1996.

Literary Fiction

Blackwood, Scott. We Agreed to Meet Just Here. Kalamazoo, Michigan: West Michigan University Press, 2009. Review by Karen Stroup.

Jonestown Revisited, a short story by Jan Carew, published in Eusi Kwayana, A New Look at Jonestown: Dimensions from a Guyanese Perspective. Los Angeles: CaribHouse, 2016.

D’Aguiar, Fred. Children of Paradise. New York: HarperCollins, 2014. Reviews in the jonestown report by Annie Dawid and Matthew Fulmer, and in Fictional Cults Lack Verisimilitude by Annie Dawid. Also reviewed in The New York Times review by Julia Scheeres (which also appears here).

Dawid, Annie. Paradise Undone: A Novel of Jonestown. Inkspot Publishing, 2023. See reviews by Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons and darlene anita scott.

Harris, Wilson. Jonestown. London: Faber and Faber, 1996. See discussions in the jonestown report of this work by Tayla Boote, Annie Dawid, Jonathan Highfield, Gentian Miller, and Rebecca Moore.

Hutchinson, Sikivu. White Nights, Black Paradise. Infidel Books, 2015. See reviews by Annie Dawid and Rebecca Moore, and in Fictional Cults Lack Verisimilitude by Annie Dawid.

Maas, Sharon. The Girl from Jonestown. Bookouture, 2022. See review by Laura Elizabeth Woollett. Additional reviews are here.

Woollett, Laura. Beautiful Revolutionary. Melbourne, Australia: Scribe Publications, 2018. See reviews by Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons, Katherine Hill, Kathy Sparrow, and Rikke Wettendorf.

Popular Fiction with Jonestown Themes or as Plot Device

Carter, Nick. Retreat for Death. New York: Charter Communications, 1982. See Peoples Temple as Plot Device (2012).

Christine, Juliea. Escaping Jonestown. BookRix, 2012.

Hart, Megan. All Fall Down. Don Mills, Ontario: Mira Books, 2012.

Hartmann, Joseph. Before White Night: Rescue from Jonestown. Richmond, Virginia: Belle Isle Books, 2014. Review by Matthew Fulmer.

Hewtson, Kathleen McKenna. Jungle Rot: Jonestown, an American Holocaust. San Francisco: Taylor Street Books, 2015. Critical essay review by Katherine Hill. Response to Katherine Hill by Tim Hewston. Reply by Katherine Hill.

James, Steven. The Pawn. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Revell, 2007. Review by Karen Stroup. See also Peoples Temple as Plot Device (2012)

Lescroart, John. The Hunter. New York: Dutton, 2012. See Peoples Temple as Plot Device (2012).

Ludwig, Arnold. Blue Smoke and Mirrors. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017. See reviews by Matthew Fulmer, Bulent Atalay, and Robert Westlake.

Mankel, Henning. Before the Frost. New York: Vintage Books, 2006. See Peoples Temple as Plot Device (2012).

Maupin, Armistead. More Tales of the City. New York: Harper Perennial, 1980. See review by Blair Alan Gadsby (2022) NEW

_____. Further Tales of the City. New York: Harper Perennial, 1982. Review by Karen Stroup.

Mendonsa, Eugene. Jim Jones Is Alive. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.
See reviews by Katherine Hill and Mark T. Gallaga.

Olsson, Peter Alan. A Boyish God. Houston: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co., 2013.
Review by Laura Johnston Kohl.

Read, Cornelia. The Crazy School. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010. See Peoples Temple as Plot Device.

Rodgers, William D. Cult Sunday. Denver: Accent Books, 1979.

Roy, Ryan. Jonestown. Living Art Publications, 2014. See reviews by Matthew Thomas Farrell and Katherine Hill.

Wilson, Gar. Terror in Guyana. Toronto, Ont.: Worldwide Press, 1990. See Peoples Temple as Plot Device (2012).