Omar El Akkad's picture

Omar El Akkad


OMAR EL AKKAD was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Doha, Qatar until he moved to Canada with his family. He is an award-winning journalist and author who has traveled around the world to cover many of the most important news stories of the last decade. His reporting includes dispatches from the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, the military trials at Guantànamo Bay, the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri. He is a recipient of Canadas National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and the Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, as well as three National Magazine Award honorable mentions. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Genres: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction

James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction Best Book nominee (2017) : American War
Arthur C. Clarke Award Best Book nominee (2018) : American War

Omar El Akkad recommends
The Boat People (2018)
Sharon Bala
"The Boat People is a burning flare of a novel, at once incendiary and illuminating. With a rare combination of precision, empathy and insight, Sharon Bala has crafted an unflinching examination of what happens when the fundamental human need for safety collides with the cold calculus of bureaucracy. In the best tradition of fearless literature, it shatters our comfortable illusions about who we really are and reveals just how asymmetrical the privilege of belonging can be. This is a brilliant debut – a story that needs to be told, told beautifully."
Lost Empress (2018)
Sergio de la Pava
"Lost Empress is a vast galaxy of a book, a searing, frequently hilarious indictment of the absurdity of modern American life told through the lens of this country's two most violent pastimes-professional football and criminal justice. To spend time inside the unfiltered mind of a writer like Sergio de la Pava is a rare, dizzying treat."
An Ocean of Minutes (2018)
Thea Lim
"Amidst the breathtaking world Thea Lim has created in An Ocean of Minutes is a profound meditation on the inhumanity of class and the limits of love. It takes immense talent to render cruelty both accurately and with honest beauty - Lim has pulled it off. This is a story about the malleability of time, but at its core lives something timeless."
A Luminous Republic (2020)
Andrés Barba
"A Luminous Republic is a terrifying masterpiece. To lay bare with such stunning precision the nature of self-obsession – the viciousness with which any one of us might respond to that which we don’t understand – marks Andrés Barba as a writer of extraordinary talent. He has created a small, simple story and within it buried immense complexity and truth."
Noopiming (2020)
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
"Noopiming is a rare parcel of beauty and power, at once a creator and destroyer of forms. All of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s myriad literary gifts shine here—her scalpel-sharp humor, her eye for the smallest human details, the prodigious scope of her imaginative and poetic generosity. The result is a book at once fierce, uproarious, heartbreaking, and, throughout and above all else, rooted in love."
The Captive (2021)
Fiona King Foster
"Fiona Foster has written a tension-wire novel, suspenseful from the first line to the last. A story about a fractured country quickly transforms into a study of the ways in which the darkest parts of our history follow us around like shadows. There is something gripping here, a nuanced dissection of how violence begets violence, damage begets damage."
Waiting for the Night Song (2021)
Julie Carrick Dalton
"Julie Carrick Dalton’s deftly constructed, urgent yet slow-burning debut novel reads like a warning from the frontlines of our rapidly deteriorating natural world."
Hummingbird Salamander (2021)
Jeff VanderMeer
"A profound and incendiary thriller hurtling backward from the end of the world. Jeff VanderMeer’s tale of ecological and personal obsession inhabits that strange, surreal space where the natural world and human ambition collide – a space almost no other writer has chronicled with as much reverence and imaginative lucidity. The result is a detective story unlike any I’ve read before, futuristic in bearing but deeply relevant to this present, dangerous moment."
Unity (2021)
Elly Bangs
"Unity is a wild firefight of a novel. But amidst the vivid dystopian worldbuilding--the undersea metropolises and scorched badlands--and all the breakneck action is something deeper, a philosophically and emotionally resonant exploration of what it means to carry multiplicities of ourselves, our myriad shades of being. Elly Bangs is a writer of both kaleidoscopic imagination and deep literary empathy, a cyberpunk star in the making."

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