Ayad Akhtar is a playwright, screenwriter, and author, whose play Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. His work American Dervish was named a 2012 Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, Toronto Globe and Mail, Shelf Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine and has been published in more than 20 languages worldwide. His latest play is Junk: The Golden Age of Debt, which premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in August 2016 and opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater of The Lincoln Center in late 2017, won the 2018 Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was the featured author for a PEN President’s Circle Author’s Evening in Fall 2014. He was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He joined the PEN America Board in 2015.