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Omar El Akkad on Writing the Codacene: Literature in an Age of Endings | 57th Annual Nina Mae Kellogg Lecture
November 1, 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pmFree
Vanport Room (SMSU 338)
The English Department presents the 57th Annual Nina Mae Kellogg Lecture, “Writing the Codacene: Literature in an Age of Endings,” with Omar El Akkad.
What does it mean to tell stories in a moment where it seems so much of what the world once was, it is unlikely to ever be again? Every generation must grapple with its own conception of apocalypse, and literature is no stranger to the end of the world. In this talk, journalist and author Omar El Akkad discusses some of the reporting assignments, novels and works of non-fiction that have influenced his writing, and the uncertain space many contemporary authors must inhabit when writing about a world mid-calamity.
Omar El Akkad is an author and journalist. He was born in Egypt, grew up in Qatar, moved to Canada as a teenager and now lives in the United States. The start of his journalism career coincided with the start of the war on terror, and over the following decade he reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and many other locations around the world. His work earned a National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists.
His fiction and non-fiction writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, GQ and many other newspapers and magazines.
His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and has been nominated for more than ten other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, NPR, Esquire and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 novels that changed our world.
His new novel, What Strange Paradise, was released in July, 2021 and won the Giller Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. It was also named a best book of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR and several other publications.