Ayad Akhtar

This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.

Ayad Akhtar at the 2012  Texas Book Festival

Hayat Shah’s normal life had previously been occupied with school, playing with neighborhood friends, and the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Auntie Mina arrives from Pakistan, and everything changes. He is a young Pakistani-American in love for the first time. Mina, his mother’s childhood friend, is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shahs’ doorstep with her son, in the wake of a divorce. Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. When Mina meets and begins dating a Jewish man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act – with devastating consequences for all those he loves most. Ayad Akhtar’s American Dervish is an eloquently written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the complicated interplay of religion, guilt, and coming of age in under-represented America. Akhtar holds degrees from Brown University and Columbia, and has won multiple awards for his work in film. He lives and works in New York City.  

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