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David P. Gardner Lecture in Humanities and Fine Arts with Ayad Akhtar

headshot of Ayad Akhtar; at the bottom: "David P. Gardner Lecture in the Humanities and Fine Arts with Ayad Akhtar"

PEN Across America thanks you for joining us for a David P. Gardner Lecture in the Humanities and Fine Arts by PEN America’s president, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, at the Tanner Humanities Center on Tuesday, March 29 from 7:30 PM – 9 PM MDT.

The event was in conjunction with the launch of our eighth national chapter, bringing together writers and allies in Utah to advance the organization’s mission to defend free expression and celebrate literature.

The David P. Gardner Lecture in the Humanities and Fine Arts series was founded at the University of Utah Graduate School in honor of former President David Pierpont Gardner. These lectures feature distinguished scholars and artists from the humanities and the fine arts and are administered by the Tanner Humanities Center in collaboration with the College of Humanities, the College of Fine Arts, and the Graduate School of the University of Utah.

The lecture was free and open to the public.


Ayad Akhtar headshot

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. His work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Ayad is the author of Homeland Elegies (Little, Brown & Co.), which The Washington Post called “a tour de force” and The New York Times called “a beautiful novel…that had echoes of The Great Gatsby and that circles, with pointed intellect, the possibilities and limitations of American life.” His first novel, American Dervish (Little, Brown & Co.), was published in over 20 languages. As a playwright, he has written Junk (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Kennedy Prize for American Drama, Tony nomination); Disgraced (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); The Who & The What (Lincoln Center); and The Invisible Hand (NYTW; Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Olivier, and Evening Standard nominations).

Among other honors, Akhtar is the recipient of the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Nestroy Award, the Erwin Piscator Award. He has also received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome; MacDowell; the Sundance Institute; and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. Additionally, Ayad is a Board Trustee at New York Theater Workshop and PEN America, where he serves as President.