The Counter Revolution

A talk by writer and political analyst Peter Zilahy exploring the parallel universes of political thinking and the rise of far-right populism


Fields of Knowledge
  • Philosophy / Theory

Organizing Institutions

Slought, Department of English and the Program in Comparative Literature & Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania


Eduardo Cadava

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce "The Counter Revolution," a talk by writer and political analyst Peter Zilahy exploring the parallel universes of political thinking and the rise of far-right populism, on Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 6:00-7:30pm.

The morning after the 2016 US election, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán welcomed the results in a live radio interview. "The world will be a better place with the new American president," Mr. Orbán declared, adding that Brexit was "the knock on the door, but now we have crossed the threshold." While Orbán and Trump have much in common ideologically, Orbán's post-graduate studies at Oxford were sponsored by Soros Foundation, and in the early 1990s he became the leader of the young liberals and a shooting star of progressive politics. His politics have come a long way since then, for he has managed to achieve what Trump has until now only dreamed of. He has actually built a wall on the southern border, and made Europe pay for it.
Join us at Slought as Zilahy takes us on a journey into the bizarre, parallel universes of political thinking today, in an attempt to draw a bigger picture concerning post-election realities. Zilahy will invite us to be responsibly scared and will explain why populism is surpassing the liberal agenda, why conservatism is gaining ground worldwide, and the importance of breathing normally despite these developments. He will also address the far-reaching consequences of the new paradigm, elaborate on the thin line between facts and fiction within the context of infotainment and social media, discuss how the internet is changing democracy, and shed light on the long-term effects of fear-mongering, if only to point out why there is still hope in hopelessness.

read more

Peter Zilahy is a writer and political analyst and currently a fellow at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He has written for numerous international media outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. He is the author of four books, including a dictionary-novel, The Last Window Giraffe, which has been translated into 22 languages. He has lectured at New York University, the University of Cambridge, and Sciences Po (FR), among others. Zilahy recently performed on a Moth Mainstage Show at Symphony Space on Broadway and joined Anthony Bourdain in Budapest for an episode of CNN's Parts Unknown. Zilahy is on the advisory board of Writers Resist.

"What has happened is that reality has broken through the ideology. We are moving back to reality, which means the views of real people and what they think, how they approach these questions – not to educate them, but accept them as they are. Liberal non-democracy is over and now we are going back to democracy."

— Viktor Orbán in The Telegraph concerning his visit to Theresa May