Ayad Akhtar '02, Award-Winning Playwright and Author of ‘Homeland Elegies,’ Will Address School of the Arts Graduates Online

March 04, 2021

Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts, has announced that Ayad Akhtar '02, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Disgraced and author of Homeland Elegies, will be the speaker at the School’s virtual recognition of graduates, to be posted online on Friday, April 30 at 12:30 pm. The celebration will salute the School’s MFA graduates in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing, and MA graduates in Film and Media Studies.

“We are so proud to have our alumnus Ayad Akhtar return as our speaker this year. He is one of our most luminous writers working in multiple forms today and an important commentator on the issues of race, class, and ethnicity. His courage and creativity exemplify the best of what an art school education has to offer.”

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. His work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. 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 Homeland Elegies (Little, Brown & Co.), which The Washington Post called “a tour de force” and The New York Times selected as a Top 10 Book of 2020, calling it “pitch-perfect…virtuosic.” His first novel, American Dervish (Little, Brown & Co.), was published in over 20 languages. 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).

Among other honors, Akhtar is the recipient of 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 New York Theatre Workshop and PEN America, where he serves as President.

Join us here at 12:30 pm EST on Friday, April 30, 2021 to watch.