Discipline: Theatre – playwriting, Literature – fiction

Ayad Akhtar

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting, Literature – fiction
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2013, 2017

Ayad Akhtar is an author, actor, playwright, and screenwriter. He won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Disgraced, his play about a Muslim-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. Disgraced premiered in Chicago, played at New York's LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater in 2012, traveled to London, and then opened on Broadway in October of 2014. His latest plays, The Who & The What and The Invisible Hand had their New York premieres in 2014. Akhtar is also the author of American Dervish, a coming-of-age novel published in more than 20 languages worldwide. It was a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's The Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. Most recently, he's written Homeland Elegies, one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2020.

As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater. Akhtar is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in theater and film directing. He was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



Ayad Akhtar worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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