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An Homage to Geek Culture with Joseph Earl Thomas

March 27, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

The trials of the outcast might be a tale as old as time, but never before has there been a story quite like Joseph Earl Thomas’ memoir, Sink. In a series of exacting and fierce vignettes, Joseph guides readers through the unceasing cruelty that defined his circumstances, laying bare the depths of his loneliness and illuminating the vital reprieve geek culture offered him. With remarkable tenderness and devastating clarity, he explores how lessons of toxic masculinity were drilled into his body and enforced by the cycle of violence that permeated his environment. Joseph details the darkest depths of isolation dotted with shining moments of astonishing joy as he learns the ways in which embracing the world of fantasy can in turn bring us peace in reality. Sink is the story of Joseph’s coming-of-age and coming to terms with the truth that finding salvation is not the result of fitting in. It is what happens when you find yourself.

Curator Notes: “Geek culture is sometimes relegated to the sidelines of the publishing industry. Joseph Earl Thomas’ memoir Sink—which keeps appearing on many “Most Anticipated Books of 2023″ lists—brings geek culture to the forefront, championing it as the safe haven and comfort that so many of us know it to be. Joseph’s first appearance at City of Asylum in conversation with Damon Young is a program you don’t want to miss.” Kelsey Ford, Director of Programs at City of Asylum

This reading will be followed by a moderated conversation with local author Damon Young, an audience Q&A, and a book signing. You can purchase your own copy of Joseph’s book, Sink, at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Author:

Joseph Earl Thomas (he/him) is a writer from the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in VQR, N+1, Gulf Coast, The Offing, and The Kenyon Review. He has an MFA in prose from the University of Notre Dame and is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. An excerpt of his memoir, Sink, won the 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize, and he has received fellowships from Fulbright, VONA, Tin House, Kimbilio, & Breadloaf. He is now the Anisfield-Wolf Fellow at the CSU Poetry Center. He is also an associate faculty member at The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, as well as Director of Programs at Blue Stoop, a literary hub for Philly writers. His upcoming works include the novel God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer and a collection of stories, Leviathan Beach, among other oddities. 

About the Moderator:

Damon Young is a writer, satirist, and current host and creator of the Crooked Media podcast Stuck With Damon Young. His debut memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays, won the 2020 Thurber Prize for American Humor and Barnes & Noble’s 2019 Discover Award. He is also the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the culture blog VerySmartBrothas. Damon was a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and a columnist for GQ and The Washington Post Magazine, and his writing has been featured in the Atlantic, Esquire, NY Mag, the Undefeated, Ebony, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North will be closed, but a cash wine bar will be available.

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March 27, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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