Book Launch | THE CONFESSION OF COPELAND CANE with author Keenan Norris in conversation with Dr. Michael Datcher

June 15, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Zoom Room

Join us for the launch of The Confession of Copeland Cane with author Keenan Norris in conversation with polymath Dr. Michael Datcher, who penned the New York Times bestselling novel Raising Fences: A Black Man’s Love Story. Together they’ll discuss the state of cities and American letters, and will field questions from the audience. MoAD is delighted to partner with the Bay Area Book Festival and Unnamed Press to co-present this program.

“Keenan Norris is simply one of the most talented young writers around.”—Victor LaValle

How to describe The Confession of Copeland Cane, the explosive new novel by Oakland-based author Keenan Norris? According to MacArthur Fellow Mike Davis, like “Thomas Pynchon, Nathaniel West and Ralph Ellison going into a bar where they decide to write a novel about the gentrification wars in the East Bay.” And yet Keenan Norris’s prose is all his own: dexterously lyrical, sharp, and skillful in reflecting our own moment.

Set in East Oakland in a very near future, Keenan Norris’s The Confession of Copeland Cane is a vital dispatch to our present times. Copeland Cane V is a teenager with a predilection for flip phones, a finely developed sense of the absurd, and a spot at the nearby prep school even as he and his folks face eviction from their apartment. Meanwhile, property developers are waging war across Oakland, and the state has merged with the Soclear Broadcasting conglomerate to surveil and harass Cope’s neighborhood in the name of anti-terrorism. And in the aftermath of a protest rally against police violence, everything changes, and Cope finds himself a wanted man without a clear past or future. One boy’s coming of age story converges with an American history that has not yet occurred—but that all too easily could.

The Confession of Copeland Cane is available for purchase at the MoAD Bookstore.

Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist and short story writer, the author of the forthcoming novel The Confession of Copeland Cane set in Oakland, California, circa 2030. His debut novel Brother and the Dancer won the James D. Houston Award and his chapbook By the Lemon Tree was nominated for a California Book Award. Keenan’s short work has appeared in numerous forums, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, Alta,, Visible Magazine, BOOM: A Journal of California and several anthologies of California literature. He holds an M.F.A. from Mills College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside and he’s been a 2017 Marin Headlands Artist-in-Residence, as well as a Public Voices fellow (2020), a Callaloo fellow (2016) and a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow(2017, 2015). He teaches American Literature and Creative Writing at San José State University and serves as a guest editor for the Oxford African-American Studies Center. Learn more at

Dr. Michael Datcher did his undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, his Masters at UCLA and his Ph.D. at  UC Riverside in English Literature. He is the author the Ferguson-area historical novel AMERICUS (Third World Press) and the critically-acclaimed New York Times Bestseller RAISING FENCES (Penguin Putnam/Riverhead)—a Today Show Book Club Book of the Month pick.  The film rights were originally optioned by actor Will Smith’s Overbrook Productions, who hired Datcher to write the screenplay. Datcher has made many other media appearances including Oprah. Datcher is also the author of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize nominee ANIMATING BLACK AND BROWN LIBERATION: A Theory of American Literatures (State University of New York Press).

This program is co-presented by The Bay Area Book Festival and Unnamed Press.