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Ayad Akhtar Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (3) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (1)

Date of Birth 28 October 1970New York City, New York, USA

Mini Bio (1)

From Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Graduated from Brown University.

Spent a year working with acting theorist and pioneer, Jerzy Grotowski (Towards a Poor Theater).

Has taught acting on his own and alongside Andre Gregory in New York City & Vienna, Austria.

Alumnus of the Graduate Film Program at Columbia University, with a degree in directing. Winner of a New York Documentary Center's Young Documentary Filmmakers' Award, an IFP Audience Choice Award and Programming Committee's Award for Best Film at the 2003 Columbia University Film Festival.

Author of numerous plays and screenplays. Ayad was star and co-writer of The War Within (Magnolia), which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.

His first novel, American Dervish, is being published by Little, Brown and Company in January 2012.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael G. Pollard

Trivia (3)

He was nominated at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards for Best Screenplay for The War Within.
He was awarded the 2012 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work for "Disgraced" at the American Theater Company in association with The Araca Group in Chicago, Illinois.
His play, Disgraced, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013.

Personal Quotes (11)

I don't feel that as an artist my job is to offer PR propaganda, whether for the good or for the bad.
I started to understand that for me, art was no longer about self-expression but about creative engagement with the world. I started to respond in an excited way to making work inside an industry and not feeling the constraints of audience expectation as some kind of thing that I should avoid.
I see the American experience as being defined by the immigrant paradigm of rupture and renewal: rupture with the old world, the old ways, and renewal of the self in a bright but difficult New World.
In my early 30s, I started to realise I was avoiding something on a personal level, but also as a writer. I was in denial about who I was, and was trying to be someone who I was not.
Sooner or later we've all got to confront the reality that we have got to come to understand who we are and what we're doing, and the extent to which we are guided or manipulated by forces that are beyond our control.
I feel like that religions generally ask the biggest questions. They may not always have the best answers, but they're the zone of human activity that regularly asks the biggest questions.
I can't be a spokesman for anything other than my own concerns. I have to be free to wrestle with my own preoccupations, and if I'm bringing any political awareness to that process, that mitigates my freedom.
Religion has been an important part of my understanding, my inquiry into what it means to be human.
I consider myself to have been formed by a lot of the locutions and aesthetics and principles of the Muslim way of life, and those are an important part of my childhood and my identity. Read more at
I feel like one of the things that is central to American life is the religious experience, and I think that the experience of being Muslim in America is as valid and as important a perspective on the religious experience of America as evangelical Christianity or Judaism - whatever it may be.
I'm a storyteller. I feel like the issue of discourse is an important one because there's a lot of political and ideological discourse that goes around, and we relate to that on an intellectual level.

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