Ayad Akhtar

Literary Birthday – 28 October – Ayad Akhtar

Happy Birthday, Ayad Akhtar, born 28 October 1970.


  1. If you want to really deeply touch the viewer or the reader, the theatre might be the most powerful way to do it.
  2. I think of myself as a narrative artist. I don’t think of myself as a novelist or screenwriter or playwright. All of those modalities of processing and experiencing narrative are obviously very different, and I’m not sure that I prefer any one to the other. I think the novel gives you the opportunity to have a kind of interiority that you can’t have in the theatre, which is pure exteriority.
  3. I think that literary forms are losing their capacity to connect people to issues, to the experiences that feel most meaningful to them.
  4. Here’s the problem: we are living in a time when the act of reading is changing. The nature of a reader’s attention is changing. The capacity for deep literary engagement is changing.
  5. I don’t have an ideal reader. I’m trying to reach something simple and, I believe, universal, in every single person.
  6. I started to understand that for me, art was no longer about self-expression but about creative engagement with the world.

Ayad Akhtar is an American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Disgraced, the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of the novels, Homeland Elegies and American Dervish. Ayad is a Board Trustee at New York Theatre Workshop, and PEN America, where he serves as President. In 2021, Akhtar was named the New York State Author, succeeding Colson Whitehead, by the New York State Writers Institute.

Source for quotes



Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 27th October 2021