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Ayad Akhtar is the New President at PEN America

Ayad Akhtar to lead PEN America

The Pulitzer-winning playwright, whose new book, “Homeland Elegies,” comes out this month, succeeds the novelist Jennifer Egan at the literary organization.

By John Williams

PEN America on Tuesday announced that the playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar would serve as its next president, succeeding the novelist Jennifer Egan. Mr. Akhtar, who has been on the board of trustees for the nonprofit literary and human rights organization for five years, won the Pulitzer for his play “Disgraced” in 2013, and is publishing a highly anticipated new novel, “Homeland Elegies,” on Sept. 15. He will officially take over the president’s role at PEN America on Dec. 2.

I spoke to him about the current debates around free speech and so-called cancel culture, the organization’s new branches across the country, its future priorities and more. These are edited and condensed excerpts from the conversation. Read the full story at The New York Times.

Ayad Akhtar will be joining Julie Robinson for one of our Books and Bathrobes conversations on October 20. For more information and to reserve your spot, please visit our event page.

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