Monday, March 4, 2024

Bestselling novelist, journalist Omar El Akkad to appear in live online event

Award-winning journalist and author Omar El Akkad — whose novel What Strange Paradise won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize for fiction plus multiple recommendations from the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and National Public Radio — will be the subject of an online interview hosted by the San Miguel Literary Sala on February 13, during which viewers tuning in will be able to ask the author questions.

While a work of fiction, What Strange Paradise tackles the real-life tragedy of the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, focusing on the story of two children to delve into the effects of empathy and hope and despair and indifference on the plight of global refugees. “The story so astutely unpacks the us-versus-them dynamics of our divided world that it deserves to be an instant classic,” Wendell Steavenson wrote in the New York Times Book Review in 2021. “I haven’t loved a book this much in a long time.”

El Akkad’s first book, 2017’s dystopian American War, which depicted a near-future civil war in the United States, was an international bestseller translated into 13 languages. The BBC listed it among its 100 most influential novels.

During this live Zoom event, El Akkad will discuss with The Literary Sala’s Merilyn Simonds his fiction as well as his experiences as a reporter covering the war in Afghanistan, Egypt’s Arab Spring, the military trials at Guantanamo Bay and, more recently, Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

The Literary Sala, based in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and best known for hosting the annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference in that city, is presenting the interview with El Akkad, which takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, as part of its Distinguished Speaker Series. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish, from US $10–$50. For more information visit the San Miguel Literary Sala website.

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