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Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar is an award-winning novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.

He is the author of American Dervish, published in over 20 languages and named a Kirkus

Reviews Best Book of 2012. The novel follows a young Pakistani boy and his journey growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Akhtar himself was raised in Milwaukee, adding personal experience to the novel.

Akhtar’s latest novel, Homeland Elegies, is a deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, and it has been called a “Tour de force” by The Washington Post and a “revelation” by Publishers Weekly. American Dervish and Homeland Elegies differ in perspective, as one is a bildungsroman novel and the other is more of a memoir. At SALA, Akhtar can provide unique ideas about not only issues that South Asians face, but issues that we face as a society.

Akhtar has also written several plays, so he’ll be able to discuss his writing process, how things differ between plays and novels, and his experience in transitioning from playwriting to crafting his first novel. He may also provide insight about his time in Italy as an assistant to theatre legend Jerzy Grotowski. Regardless of what aspect of his work that Akhtar speaks about, those in the audience will get to experience a top playwright and novelist with unique and interesting perspectives.

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