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Ayad Akhtar Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

American Dervish (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Homeland Elegies (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

Ayad Akhter
Ayad Akhtar and is a playwright, screenwriter, and a novelist. He was born October 28, 1970 in Staten Island, New York City, and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ayad’s interest in literature was sparked in high school initially.

He went to Brown University, majoring in religion and theater and he started directing and acting in the student plays.

After he graduated, he moved to Italy so that he could work with Jerzy Grotowski, eventually becoming his assistant. Once he returned to America, he taught acting alongside of Andre Gregory and got his Master of Fine Arts degree in film direction from Columbia University School of the Arts.

His work’s been performed and published in more than two dozen languages. He has won an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play “Disgraced”.

Among his other honors, he has received the Steinberg Playwriting Award, the Erwin Piscator Award, the Nestroy Award, as well as fellowships from the MacDowell, the American Academy in Rome, Yaddo, and the Sundance Institute.

Ayad’s debut novel, called “American Dervish”, was released in the year 2012, while his first produced play, called “Disgraced”, debuted in the year 2013.

“American Dervish” is a stand alone novel that was released in the year 2012. Hayat Shah is a young American who is in love for the first time. His normal life of video games, school, and baseball was previously distinguished just by his Pakistani heritage and that frequent chill between both of his parents. Everything changes once Mina shows up.

Mina is Hayat’s mom’s oldest friend from Pakistan. She is intelligent, independent, and gorgeous, and she shows up at the Shah’s door when her disaster of a marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Her deep spirituality brings the family’s Muslim faith to life in such a way that resonates with Hayat as not much else has before. He feels a brand new purpose that is mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.

When Mina meets and starts dating a guy, Hayat becomes confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both romantic and spiritual, make him question everything that he has believed to be true. Right when Mina finds her own happiness, Hayat becomes compelled to act. This comes with some devastating consequences for everybody that he loves the most.

Ayad is a generous new voice in American fiction, and writes this novel in an effortless and self-assured way. The novel is educational, humorous, witty, spiritual, and captivating tale about a young kid growing up during the eighties in the Midwest.

“Disgraced” is a play that was released in the year 2013. The story of Amir Kapoor, who is a successful Pakistani-American lawyer that has been rapidly moving up the corporate ladder as he distanced himself from his cultural roots.

When Amir and Emily, his wife and a white artist influenced by different Islamic imagery, host this dinner party, what begins as a friendly conversation turns into something a lot more damaging.

This is an incredibly well written and tight script, and covers the highly important topic of Islamophobia. The play also toys and raises some nuanced and provocative concepts, and is a shattering and fast witted piece of drama.

“The Who & The What” is a play that was released in the year 2014. This play explores the conflict that erupts in a Muslim family in the city of Atlanta when one independent minded daughter writes a provocative novel that offends her more conservative sister and dad. The play also examines the chasm between our contemporary lives and our traditions.

Zarina has got a bone to pick with the place of women within her Muslim faith, and she has been penning a book about the Prophet Muhammad that seeks to set the record straight. When her traditional sister and dad find the manuscript, it threatens to rip her whole family apart.

“The Invisible Hand” is a play that was released in the year 2015. This isa chilling examination of just how far we would go in order to survive and the consequences of each of our choices.

In remote Pakistan, Nick Bright is awaiting to learn about his fate. He is a successful financial trader, and has been kidnapped by some Islamic militant group. Since nobody is negotiating his release, he agrees to this strange plan.

He is going to earn his own ransom by aiding his captors master and manipulate the world commodities and currency markets.

This is a tense and provocative play and Ayad’s writing is eye-opening and laser-focused. He delivers an entertaining yet important work that is more significant with each passing day. The arc of this tale shines a light right onto the age old question about why the terrorists hate us.

“Junk” is a play that was released in the year 2017. This play exposes the financial deal making behind the acquisitions and mergers boom during the eighties.

Set in the year 1985, this tells the tale about Robert Merkin, who is the resident genius of Sacker Lowell which is an upstart investment firm. He is hailed as “America’s Alchemist”, and his proclamation that “debt’s an asset” has pushed him to dizzying amount of success.

By arranging the takeover of one massive steel manufacturer, he intends to do the “deal of the decade”, and is set to be a deal that will rewrite all of the rules. Akhtar, while working on his broadest canvas yet, chronicles the lives of women and men engaged in financial civil war: threatened workers, insatiable investors, killer attorneys, skeptical journalists and some ambitious federal prosecutors.

Even though this play is set forty years in the past, it is still a play about the world we are living in now. A world where money became the one and only thing with any real value.

Ayad is able to write with relevance and urgency, and his action and characters are so well defined. With this play he proves himself to be one of the great playwrights, giving people a special glimpse into America.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ayad Akhtar

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