Virtual: Omar El Akkad with Lidia Yuknavitch, What Strange Paradise

Join Porter Square Books to welcome Omar El Akkad for a talk on his newest novel, What Strange Paradise - described by NPR as "touching, gritty, and told in a unique voice that places childhood at the center of the discussion ... a tender, haunting work about refugees everyone should read.” He will be joined in conversation by Lidia Yuknavitch. This virtual event is free and open to all, hosted on Crowdcast.

Register to attend the event on Crowdcast here:

From the widely acclaimed, best-selling author of American War, a new novel--beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving--that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.

"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. --Gish Jen, author of The Resisters

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: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by V nna. V nna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though V nna and Amir are complete strangers, though they don't speak a common language, V nna 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. What Strange Paradise 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.

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 GuardianLe MondeGuernicaGQ, and many other newspapers and magazines. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen 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.

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the genre bending bestselling novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children (winner of an Oregon Book Award), and Dora: A Headcase. Her nonfiction hybrids include the award winning The Chronology of Water (also an Oregon Book Award winnerand The Misfit's Manifesto, based on her widely viewed TED talk, On The Beauty of Being a Misfit. Kristen Stewart has adapted Chronology for film. Lidia is the founder of the Corporeal Writing Creative labs and incubators in Portland, Oregon. Her short story collection Verge is currently available in paperback, and her forthcoming novel Thrust arrives next summer from Riverhead. She is a very good swimmer. 

Register to attend the event on Crowdcast here:

Event date: 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Virtual via Crowdcast
What Strange Paradise: A novel By Omar El Akkad Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525657903
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Knopf - July 20th, 2021