Omar El Akkad

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Omar El Akkad
Born1982 (age 37–38)
OccupationJournalist, author

Omar El Akkad (born 1982) is an Egyptian-Canadian novelist and journalist.

Early life and education[edit]

Omar El Akkad was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in Doha, Qatar.[1] When he was 16 years old, he moved to Canada, completing high school in Montreal and university at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He has a computer science degree.[2]


For ten years he was a staff reporter for The Globe and Mail, where he covered the War in Afghanistan, military trials at Guantanamo Bay and the Arab Spring in Egypt.[1] He was most recently a correspondent for the western United States, where he covered Black Lives Matter.[3]

His first novel, American War, was published in 2017.[4][5] It received positive reviews from critics; The New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani compared it favourably to Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Philip Roth's novel The Plot Against America. She wrote that "melodramatic" dialogue could be forgiven by the use of details that makes the fictional future "seem alarmingly real".[6] The Globe and Mail called it "a masterful debut."[7] The novel was named a shortlisted finalist for the 2017 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize,[8] and for the 2018 First Novel Award, and won a Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.[9][10]

In November 2019 the BBC News listed American War on a list of the 100 most influential novels.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He lives with his wife and daughter in Portland, Oregon.[12]



  1. ^ a b "Omar El Akkad | Penguin Random House". Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  2. ^ "Omar El Akkad - Interview". Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  3. ^ "A Conversation with Omar El Akkad, Author, American War - Unbound Worlds". Unbound Worlds. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  4. ^ Kakutani, Michiko. "A Haunting Debut Looks Ahead to a Second American Civil War". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  5. ^ Garcia-Navarro, Lulu. "'American War' Explores The Universality Of Revenge". Retrieved 2017-04-16.
  6. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (2017-03-27). "A Haunting Debut Looks Ahead to a Second American Civil War". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  7. ^ "Omar El Akkad's American War, reviewed: A masterful debut". The Globe and Mail. 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  8. ^ "David Chariandy, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson among finalists for $50K Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize". CBC Books, September 27, 2017
  9. ^ Samraweet Yohannes (2018-06-19). "Omar El Akkad, author of American War, among winners of $10K Kobo Emerging Writer Prizes". CBC News. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  10. ^ "Sharon Bala, Omar El Akkad among finalists for $40K First Novel Award". CBC Books, April 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "Margaret Atwood, L.M. Montgomery, Carol Shields featured on BBC's list of 100 novels that shaped the world". CBC News. 2019-11-08. Retrieved 2019-11-09. Omar El Akkad's American War is the most recently published Canadian novel on the BBC's list. The journalist's debut book came out in 2017 and won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for fiction, a $10,000 award. It was also featured on Canada Reads 2018, when it was defended by Tahmoh Penikett.
  12. ^ "Omar El Akkad | Eden Mills Writers' Festival". Eden Mills Writers' Festival. Retrieved 2018-06-27.