Book Passage Presents
Mon., June 21, 2021 • 5:30pm PT • Live • Online
In conversation with Syed M. Masood
A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel—at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation's unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one—least of all himself—in the process.
Ayad Akhtar is a playwright, novelist, and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of American Dervish, published in more than twenty languages and named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012. As a playwright, he has written Junk (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Kennedy Prize for American Drama, Tony nomination); Disgraced (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); The Who & The What (Lincoln Center); and The Invisible Hand (NYTW; Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Olivier, and Evening Standard nominations). As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. Among other honors, Akhtar is the recipient the Steinberg Playwrighting Award, the Nestroy Award, the Erwin Piscator Award, as well as fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. Additionally, Ayad is a Board Trustee at PEN/America, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and New York Theatre Workshop.
Syed M. Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. A first-generation immigrant twice over, he has been a citizen of three different countries and nine different cities. He currently lives in Sacramento, California, where he is a practicing attorney. He is the author of The Bad Muslim Discount.
Ayad Akhtar photo courtesy of author; Syed Masood photo by Samantha May Photography