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Ayad Akhtar

The Leonard Lopate Show

An American Stockbroker Confronts Horrors in Pakistan in Ayad Akhtar’s New Play

Monday, December 08, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar discusses his new play "The Invisible Hand," about an American stock broker, into a world of kidnapping and torture in Pakistan. 

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Around Broadway

Broadway Graced by Disgraced

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A short Off-Broadway run in 2012 was New York’s introduction to "Disgraced," which is coming back, this time on Broadway and with bigger credentials.

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The Greene Space

On-Demand Video: Leonard Lopate Talks with Ayad Akhtar and Cast of Broadway's 'Disgraced'

Friday, September 19, 2014

Leonard Lopate talks race, identity and the Broadway play "Disgraced" with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and actors Josh Radnor, Karen Pittman and Hari Dhillon.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Bringing More Color and Diversity to the Great White Way

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NPR’s Michel Martin and playwrights Kristoffer Diaz and Ayad Akhtar discuss race and diversity on Broadway and look at the ways artists are changing theater.

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The Greene Space

Watch: Ayad Akhtar on Bringing His Pulitzer-Winning Play to Broadway

Friday, September 12, 2014

The playwright talks about the process of writing "Disgraced" and its upcoming Broadway premiere. 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

A New Play on Family, Politics, and Writing a Novel as a Pakistani-American Woman

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"The Who & the What," a new play about a Pakistani-American writer whose new novel threatens to tear her family apart.

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Around Broadway

The Who & the What Examines Family and Faith

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood offers up his review of The Who & the What, which follows the conflicts that erupt in a Pakistani-American family living in Atlanta.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Video: Questions for Ayad Akhtar

Friday, July 26, 2013

What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?

      More than favorite authors, I have favorite works. And I’m not sure I would distinguish between films and books in that category: The Death of Ivan Ilych. Seize the Day. Annie Hall. GoodFellas. The Human Stain. The Invisible Man. Bringing Up Baby. Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson. A Bend in the River.

What are your favorite plays and why?

     I think all of my favorite plays share the same qualities of dramatic impact, social commentary, and an almost classical purity of form: "Hedda Gabler." "Look Back in Anger." "Glen Garry Glen Ross." "All My Sons."

What authors or works do you think are underappreciated or overlooked?

      Harold Brodkey. One of the finest writers of our American language. And likely the greatest long short fiction writer we’ve had.

Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where, when, and how do you write?

      9 to 2 every day. In my office. I tend to work in intense spurts followed by short periods of relaxation. When I’m working on a play, having an upcoming reading is helpful, and I love to write in the midst of workshops, while I have the chance to hear actors work with the new material. As a novelist, the deadlines are more internal, and the work obviously much more solitary.

Do you have favorite or least favorite words? What are they and why?

      I’ve always adored the French word, oiseau. Which means bird. I love that it uses every vowel. And I love that you add an “x” for the plural:  oiseaux.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

     Persistence. It can take a very long time to get anywhere, artistically, professionally. Be open to criticism, and continue to do it. Persist.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Join the Leonard Lopate Book Club - July's Book: American Dervish

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ayad Akhtar’s novel American Dervish is our pick for the July Leonard Lopate Show Book Club! It’s a coming-of-age novel about Muslims in America that follows a young man named Hayat who has a romantic and spiritual awakening as he’s growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ayad Akhtar won the Pulitzer Prize this year for his play “Disgraced,” and American Dervish is his debut novel. We hope you've been reading the book along with us. Leave your comments and questions!

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