An Evening With Ayad Akhtar & Phil Klay

LIVE! Event starts Friday, November 20 @ 8 p.m. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar‘s Homeland Elegies attempts to make sense of […]


An Evening With Ayad Akhtar & Phil Klay

Authors:Phil Klay , Ayad Akhtar


LIVE! Event starts Friday, November 20 @ 8 p.m.

Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar‘s Homeland Elegies attempts to make sense of a post-9/11 country in which the gods of finance rule, debt has ruined countless lives, and immigrants live in fear. He’s speaking with Iraq war veteran and National Book Award winner Phil Klay, whose novel Missionaries provides a window into modern war and the aftermath of that violence on people’s lives once the drones are gone.

Phil Klay

Phil Klay is a veteran of the US Marine Corps. His short story collection Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics’ Circle John Leonard Prize for best debut work in any genre, and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by The New York Times. His nonfiction work won the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters in the category of Cultural & Historical Criticism in 2018. His writing has appeared in various publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. In Missionaries (Penguin Press), Klay’s debut novel, a group of Colombian soldiers prepares to raid a drug lord’s safe house on the Venezuelan border. They’re watching him with an American-made drone, and about to strike using military tactics taught to them by U.S. soldiers who honed their skills in Iraq. In Missionaries, Klay examines the globalization of violence through the interlocking stories of a U.S. Army Special Forces medic, a foreign correspondent, a Colombian officer, and a lieutenant in a local militia. Conflict has defined their lives. Drawing on six years of research in America and Colombia, Klay offers a window not only into modern war, but into what happen to those lives after the drones are gone. In a starred review Kirkus praised how Klay “creates ambiguity […] through careful psychological portraits that reveal how readily relationships grow complicated and how even good intentions come undone in the face of humanity’s urge to violence […] An unflinching and engrossing exploration of violence’s agonizing persistence.”

Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ayad is the author of American Dervish. As a playwright, he has written Junk; Disgraced; The Who & The What; and The Invisible Hand. Blending fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the post 9/11world, Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies (Little, Brown and Company) is a deeply personal work about identity and belonging. 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. It’s 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, and spares no one — least of all himself — in the process. Author Salman Rushdie called it “an unflinchingly honest self-portrait by a brilliant Muslim-American writer, and, beyond that, an unsparing examination of both sides of that fraught hyphenated reality. Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.”

Mini: Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, Ayad Akhtar’s novel Homeland Elegies, attempts to make sense of a post 9/11 country in which the gods of finance rule, debt has ruined countless lives, and immigrants live in fear.

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