Ayad Akhtar Named Next President of PEN America

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar will serve as the next president of PEN America, succeeding novelist Jennifer Egan, who has led the organization in that role over the past three years. Akhtar will assume the presidency December 2, only a few months after his novel Homeland Elegies will be published by Little, Brown on September 15. Akhtar has been a PEN America Trustee since 2015, and assumes the role after a unanimous vote of the PEN America Board of Trustees and PEN America’s Members.

“Ayad is a dauntless documenter of our time,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel, author of the recent Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. “His writing across disciplines voices the unspoken and lays bare what many would rather keep cloaked. His willingness to break boundaries and risk backlash make him an especially appropriate leader for PEN America at a time when our collective cultural parameters are being renegotiated. He is a fierce advocate and an embodiment of the role of literature as a catalyst for change.”

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