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Visiting Writers Series begins Sept. 10

akhtar_t.jpgBOONE—Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar opens the Hughlene B. Frank Visiting Writers Series Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Appalachian State University. Akhtar will read from his work beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Blue Ridge Ballroom.

Monica Davis_t2.jpgAppalachian State University’s Visiting Writers Series opens Sept. 10 with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ayad Akhtar, pictured.

The reading is a joint presentation with the university’s Summer Reading Program. Book sales and signing will follow the reading.

In addition, Akhtar will speak during convocation at 10 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center and participate in a panel discussion at 2 p.m. in Blue Ridge Ballroom, presented by the Summer Reading Program. He also will participate in a reading, question and answer session and book signing Sept. 11 at 10:45 a.m. at the Watauga County Library. The event is sponsored by Watauga Reads!

Admission to all events is free and the public is welcome.

Born in New York City to Pakistani immigrants and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., Akhtar is the author of “American Dervish,” which has been published in 25 languages. The book was the university’s 2013 Summer Reading Program selection and provided to all incoming freshmen as part of a common academic experience for new students.

Akhtar also is a playwright and screenwriter. His stage play “Disgraced” won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Aktahr was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for “The War Within.”

He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia universities with degrees in theater and film directing.

Also participating in the fall writers series are Stephen R. Bissette, Thursday, Sept. 26; Toi Derricotte, Thursday, Oct. 3; and Molly Peacock, Thursday, Oct. 10.

Derricotte is Appalachian’s Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing for fall semester.

The Fall 2013 Visiting Writers Series is supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation, Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Summer Reading Program, the University Bookstore, Belk Library and Information Commons and the Appalachian Journal. Business sponsors are the Gideon Ridge Inn and the Red Onion Café. Community sponsors include John and the late Margie Idol, Paul and Judy Tobin, Alice Naylor, Thomas McLaughlin and The High Country Writers.

The Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of Hughlene Bostian Frank (class of 1968), a past trustee and generous supporter of the university and recipient of the 2013 Appalachian Alumni Association Outstanding Service award

For further information on the fall season, call 828-262-2871 or see To receive Appalachian’s “This Week in the Arts” announcements by email, contact

To read on-line excerpts from the Fall Visiting Writers’ works, please go to, click Reserves, then enter Visiting Writers Series as Instructor or Course Name. If needed, use the password asuwriters.