Nathaniel Popkin is a nationally recognized writer and editor of fiction and non-fiction, film, criticism, and journalism. He is the author of three books of non-fiction and two novels, including the 2018 Everything is Borrowed (New Door Books), called “utterly absorbing” by the author Robin Black, and is the co-editor (with Stephanie Feldman) of a recent anthology in response to the American political crisis, Who Will Speak for America? (Temple University Press). That book, and the movement that spawned it—Writers Resist—is evidence of a renewed engagement among writers in political discourse. In 2018 he turned his attention to the ecological crisis, describing the present era as an “age of loss” in a short essay in The New York Times.
Popkin has been a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Writer-in-Residence at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and Jefferson University, and an artist-in-residence at Rivendell Writers Colony in Tennessee and the Gullkistan Center for Creativity in Iceland. He is the writer of the 2018 film documentary “Sisters in Freedom,” the extraordinary story of the trailblazing women who crossed racial lines in the fight to end slavery. He is the recipient of several Emmy Awards for documentary film writing.
Popkin’s first novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press), is a meditation on originality and influence in art. It reimagines the life and tragic death of the first great American genre painter, John Lewis Krimmel. Lion and Leopard was a finalist for the Foreword Reviews Indie Book of the Year Award
Popkin is co-founder of the web magazine Hidden City Daily and the reviews editor of Cleaver Magazine. His literary criticism and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Kenyon Review, LitHub, Tablet, Public Books, and Rain Taxi, among many other publications. As a close observer of Philadelphia and American urban history Popkin has sought a fresh way to understand urban change through layers of human endeavor. His 2017 book Finding the Hidden City (Temple University Press), written with Peter Woodall and photographer Joseph E.B. Elliott, follows on 2008’s The Possible City (Camino Books) and 2002’s Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows-Basic Books). He was the guest architecture critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2011-12.
Read Philadelphia Inquirer book editor John Timpane’s profile of Nathaniel.