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We help connect nationally touring writers to venues in Philadelphia & curate events highlighting local writers that are free & open to the public.

We help connect nationally touring writers to venues in Philadelphia & curate events highlighting local writers that are free & open to the public. Click here for images from our past events.

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Mark Doten in conversation w/ Keith Kopka

  • Penn Book Center 130 South 34th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19104 United States (map)

MARK DOTEN is the author of The Infernal and was named to Granta’s once-a-decade “Best of Young American Novelists” list in 2017.  He wrote the libretto for the oratorio The Source, which had its world premiere at BAM’s Next Wave Festival in October 2014 and was called a “21st-century masterpiece” by the New York Times. It was later staged by the Los Angeles Opera and the San Francisco Opera.  He is the executive literary fiction editor at Soho Press and teaches at Columbia University' and Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, NJ with his partner, Paul Nadal

Trump Sky Alpha is a novel about  Donald Trump, the secret history of the Internet, and the end of the world. Twice a week, the President pilots his ultra-luxury airship Trump Sky Alpha (seats start at $50,000) between DC, NYC, and Mar-a-Lago, delivering, as he travels, a streaming YouTube address to the nation, trumpeting his successes and blasting his enemies—until the day his words plunge the world into nuclear war. One year later, with ninety percent of the world’s population decimated, a journalist named Rachel, grieving for her lost wife and daughter, and living an emotionally numb existence in the Twin Cities Metro Containment Zone, is offered an assignment by her old editor: to document the jokes that made their way around the internet in the final moments before the end.

What she uncovers, hidden amid spiraling memes and twitter jokes in a working archive of the internet’s remnants, are references to a little-known novel, The Subversive, that seemed to have predicted the world’s end, and the traces of a shadowy hacktivist group known as the Aviary. The actions of the Aviary, and the enigmatic presence a figure known only as Birdcrash, take on immense and terrifying dimensions as Rachel ventures further into the ruins of the internet.

Mark Doten, a satirist of unparalleled vision, brilliantly details how the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, laying the groundwork for the tumult of our current political moment, and, in the kaleidoscopic, queer, all-consuming, parallactic swirl of Trump Sky Alpha, for the future headed our way.

"[Mark Doten] launches Trump Sky Alpha at the bull's eye of reality with such velocity that it bursts through the other side. This is speculative fiction as burning ring of fire. . . . Perversely satisfying, this tour de force of vicious satire is cathartic. . . . Dizzy with metaphor, Trump Sky Alpha is a cautionary tale for a time when we have become inured to flashing yellow all around." —The Washington Post

“Doten's cracked archaeology of the nearly-now is so brilliant it will make you joyful despite yourself, despite the world's self.” —Rivka Galchen

“To enshrine in such beauty and intelligence a country that so despises beauty and intelligence is an act of rogue hope and antic compassion. In Trump Sky Alpha, Mark Doten emerges as the shadow president of our benighted generation of American literature.” —Joshua Cohen

KEITH KOPKA is an associate professor at Holy Family University. His poetry and criticism have recently appeared in The International Journal of The BookMid-American Review,New Ohio ReviewNinth Letter, and many others. Kopka was a finalist for the 2017 National Poetry Series and won the 2017 International Award for Excellencefrom the Books, Publishing & Libraries Research Network. He is also a co-founder and the Director of Operations for Writers Resist, a Senior Editor at Narrative Magazine, a recipient of a Chautauqua Arts Fellowship, and a Vermont Studio Center poetry fellow.