Born in New York City and raised in Wisconsin, Ayad Akhtar is a playwright, novelist, and the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Disgraced. Most recently, his play Junk received the 2018 Kennedy Prize for American Drama and was nominated for the 2018 Tony Award for Best Play. His other plays, The Who & The What and The Invisible Hand, received Off-Broadway runs and are currently being produced around the world, winning multiple awards and garnering nominations for the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards in London. As a novelist, he is the author of American Dervish, published in over 20 languages worldwide. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He is also the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Steinberg Award for Playwriting. Akhtar has received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, The Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He joined the PEN America Board in 2015.