By Renée Belliveau
Join us for a reading by award-winning journalist and author of American War Omar El Akkad.
“The sun broke through a pilgrimage of clouds and cast its unblinking eye upon the Mississippi Sea. The coastal waters were brown and still. The sea’s mouth opened wide over ruined marshland, and every year grew wider, the water picking away at the silt and sand and clay, until the old riverside plantations and plastics factories and marine railways became unstable. Before the buildings slid into the water for good, they were stripped of their usable parts by the delta’s last holdout residents. The water swallowed the land. To the southeast, the once glorious city of New Orleans became a well within the walls of its levees. The baptismal rites of a new America.” – American War
When the federal government of the United States decides to impose prohibition on fossil fuels, a number of southern states resolve to secede rather than comply. In this debut novel, Omar El Akkad takes us into a near future devastated by the effects of global warming and in which a politically polarized America descends into a second Civil War. Amid warfare, a family fights to survive.
Omar El Akkad was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Doha, Qatar before moving to Canada at the age of 16. As a journalist, El Akkad has travelled the world, covering some of the most important news stories of the last decades, including the war in Afghanistan, military trials at Guantanamo Bay, the Arab Spring in Egypt, and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri. His investigative journalism has earned him a National Newspaper Award, the Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, and three honourable mentions from the National Magazine Award.
American War was published in 2017 to positive reviews from critics. It was shortlisted for the 2017 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the 2018 Amazon First Novel Award, and was a finalist on CBC’s 2018 Canada Reads. Speaking to NPR, El Akkad has said that the book was partly inspired by his journalistic experiences, noting that “there's nothing [in the book] that doesn't have some kind of analog in the world.” You can find American War in the stacks of the R.P. Bell Library at call number PS 3605 .L12 A44 2017.
Tidewater Books will be present at the event. All are welcome.
Omar El Akkad, Reading and Discussion
Thursday, October 25th at 7 p.m.
Main floor, R.P. Bell Library
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