Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright is in residence

March 12, 2014

Emerson College is welcoming actor, author, screenwriter, and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Ayad Akhtar on campus as senior artist-in-residence. Throughout the month of March, Akhtar will lead a group of students from the College’s Performing Arts; Writing, Literature and Publishing; and Visual and Media Arts departments in a seven–session writing seminar developed by the School of the Arts and ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, with contribution from HowlRound: a Center for the Theater Commons.

Ayad Akhtar

Throughout the month of March, Akhtar will lead a group of students in a seven–session writing seminar.

As part of Akhtar’s residency at Emerson, there will be a series of events open to the general public, including a reading of his stage play Disgraced, for which he won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The reading is free and takes place Saturday, March 29, at 7:00 pm in the Semel Theater.

“We’re very excited to host Ayad Akhtar and to provide School of the Arts students with the opportunity to study with him during his residency,” said School of the Arts Interim Dean Rob Sabal. “His visit also offers the public a chance to see his work first-hand—extending the residency program and art/theater experience into the community.”

Born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Akhtar is the author of American Dervish, published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine.  He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. His Pulitzer-winning play Disgraced played at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and will premiere at the Bush Theater in London in May 2013.

The Artist-in-Residence Program is made possible through the generous support of the Fresh Sound Foundation.


Events

A Conversation with Ayad Akhtar: Available to watch via livestream at www.howlround.tv.

Friday, March 14, 7:00 pm; Semel Theater

A forum for students, faculty, and staff, moderated by Polly Carl, director/editor of HowlRound

Screening of The War Within: Open to the public

Friday, March 21, 7:00 pm; Bright Family Screening Room, located in Emerson/Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston.

The film tells the story of Sayeed, a man born in Pakistan who has immigrated to New York City, where he lives with his family. When his childhood friend Hassan (Ayad Akhtar) arrives from Pakistan, a warm reunion gives way to an unexpected tension between the family’s cultural roots and current American lifestyle.
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Screening of Too Big to Fail: Open to the public

Saturday, March 22, 1:00 pm; Bright Family Screening Room, located in Emerson/Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston.

This award–winning HBO film exposes the behind-the-scenes drama from the financial crisis of 2008. Based on the bestselling book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail offers an intimate look at the powerful men and women who decided the fate of the world’s economy in a matter of a few weeks. Centering on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the film goes behind closed doors to examine the symbiotic relationship between Wall Street and Washington. An all-star cast includes Paul Giamatti, Edward Asner, Ayad Akhtar, Cynthia Nixon, Topher Grace, James Woods, Erin Dilly, and William Hurt.
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Reading of Stage Play Disgraced: Open to the public

Saturday, March 29, 7:00 pm; Semel Theater, located at 10 Boylston Place, 3rd floor, Boston.

Amir Kapoor is a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. When Amir and his wife Emily, a white artist influenced by Islamic imagery, host a dinner party, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damaging. Free admission; Reservations required at www.artsemerson.org.

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