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Ayad Akhtar and Amy Waldman: Two Novelists on The Lives of American Muslims Before and After 9/11

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Episode Summary
Akhtar's American Dervish and Waldman's The Submission, both explore the lives of American Muslims, one in pre-9/11 suburbia and the other in post-9/11 Manhattan. In Akhtar's family drama, a father and son are fractured by their understandings of Islam. In Waldman's story, a city is outraged when a Muslim architect wins a blind competition to design the 9/11 Memorial. Following the conflicts within and between religions, these two brilliant debut novels grapple with identity, community, and a country in crisis.

Participant(s) Bio
Ayad Akhtar grew up in Milwaukee. He holds degrees in theater from Brown University and in directing from the graduate film program at Columbia University, where he won multiple awards for his work. He is the author of numerous screenplays and was star and co-writer of The War Within, nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. He was a featured actor -playing former TARP overseer Neel Kashkari- in the recent HBO adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail.

Amy Waldman was co-chief of the South Asia bureau of The New York Times and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. She has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at the American Academy in Berlin. Her fiction has appeared in the Boston Review and is anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. She was born in Los Angeles, studied English at Yale, and now lives in Brooklyn.