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Ayad Akhtar Will Deliver Lecture On Arts & Public Policy at the Kennedy Center This Week

The lecture will take place at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Ayad Akhtar Will Deliver Lecture On Arts & Public Policy at the Kennedy Center This Week

Americans for the Arts today announced that acclaimed novelist and playwright Ayad Akhtar will deliver the 34th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy. Akhtar will be introduced by Rockefeller Brothers Fund President and CEO Stephen Heintz, and the evening will feature a performance by artists Rez Abbassi and Kiran Ahluwalia. The lecture will take place at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. ET. The lecture will also be live-streamed for nationwide accessibility with ASL interpretation. Registration to attend is FREE: here.

"Ayad Akhtar is a fierce free speech advocate and an embodiment of the powerful role of the written word and all forms of the arts as a catalyst for change. I am very pleased that Ayad is our esteemed lecturer this year, building on the impressive legacy of the Nancy Hanks Lecture series. The Nancy Hanks Lecture serves as an opportunity for public discourse at the highest levels on the importance of the arts and culture to our nation's wellbeing, and I look forward to Ayad contributing to this important dialogue," said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

Akhtar has served as the president of PEN America since 2020, leading the organization in its mission to promote a diverse literary culture and defend free expression as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He is the author of "Homeland Elegies," which was named one of the Top 10 Books of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine. Former President Barack Obama named "Homeland Elegies" one of his favorite books of 2020. Akhtar's first novel, "American Dervish" was published in over 20 languages.

As a playwright, Akhtar has written "Junk" (Kennedy Prize for American Drama, Tony nomination); "Disgraced" (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); "The Who & The What"; and "The Invisible Hand" (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award for John Gassner Playwriting Award, Olivier Award, and Evening Standard nominations).

Among many honors, Akhtar is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Nancy Hanks Lecture is a national forum for arts policy, providing an opportunity for public discourse at the highest levels on the importance of arts and culture to our nation's well-being. The lecture is named for Nancy Hanks, former president of Americans for the Arts and chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Past lecturers include Rita Moreno, Norman Lear, Darren Walker, John Maeda, Robert Redford, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Wynton Marsalis, Maya Angelou, and Ken Burns.

Americans for the Arts extends its gratitude to The Rosenthal Family Foundation (Jamie Rosenthal Wolf, David Wolf, Rick Rosenthal, and Nancy Stephens) and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for their generous support of the Americans for the Arts 34th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy.

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