Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad is an author and a journalist. He has reported from Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, and many other locations around the world. His work earned Canada’s National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The GuardianLe MondeGuernicaGQ, and many other newspapers and magazines.

His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into 13 languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than ten other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York TimesThe Washington PostGQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. El Akkad’s second novel, What Strange Paradise, won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Pacific Northwest Book Award, and was a finalist for Canada Reads. It was chosen a best book of the year by the The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Globe and Mail, and others.

Twitter: @omarelakkad
Instagram: @oelakkad

It is one thing to put a human face on a migrant crisis and another to do so in so compelling a way that a reader simply cannot put your book down. I read this in one sitting, my heart pounding the whole way – in a strange paradise, you might say. Marvellous.” –Gish Jen


What Strange Paradise

<strong>From the widely acclaimed author of <i>American War</i>: a new novel–beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving–that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child's eyes.</strong>

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir. He is soon rescued by Vänna, a teenage girl who, despite being native to the island, experiences her own sense of homelessness. Though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.

In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir’s life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. <em>What Strange Paradise</em> is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair – and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.

<strong>GET THE BOOK</strong>

<a href="">Owl’s Nest Books</a> (Calgary) | <a href="">Calgary Public Library</a>

<strong>BE CURIOUSER</strong>
<li><strong>What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad review: Desperate Journeys. </strong><a href="">-<em>The Guardian</em></a>
<strong>Giller Prize-winning author Omar El Akkad’s powerful writing is making a mark.</strong> <a href=""><em>-Maclean’s</em></a></li>
<li><strong>The Lessons of 'American War'</strong> -<a href=""><em>The Atlantic</em></a></li>


9 AM
A Morning with Omar El Akkad & Lawrence Hill
Sep 29 @ 9 AM MT - 10 AM MT

Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor

1221 2 St SW
7 PM
An Evening with Douglas Stuart
Sep 29 @ 7 PM MT - 8:15 PM MT

Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Central Library

800 3 Street SE