For one term each academic year, the Department of English welcomes a writer in residence to engage in a range of literary events and to offer advice and mentorship to creative writing students. The program was initiated by Carolyn Smart in 2006 and featured, in that year, renowned dub poet Lillian Allen. Since that time, Queen’s has hosted a diverse array of literary artists working across genres and media.
In 2021-22, we were thrilled to welcome back to Queen’s alumnus and Giller Prize winner Omar El Akkad, author of the award-winning novel American War and the recently published What Strange Paradise.
Highlights of the 2021-2022 Residency
Our 2022 Writer in Residence
Omar El Akkad, former Creative Writing student with the Department of English at Queen’s University, is an author and a journalist. His work emerges at a crossroads of social engagement and investigative journalism. From Afghanistan, to Guantánamo Bay and many other locations in the world, Akkad’s writing and field journailism spans across many complex geographies. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, GQ, and many other newspapers and magazines.
His books include What Strange Paradise (fiction, novel, 2021) and debut novel American War (2018) which is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages.
His debut novel won many prestigious awards including 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 also listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.
Events: 2021-2022 Residency
Omar El Akkad In Conversation with Grace O'Connell and Moez Surani:
Watch Omar discuss memoir with Elamin Abdelmahmoud:
Watch the 2022 Giller Prize Event Featuring Omar:
Highlights of the 2020-21 Residency
20/21 Writer-in-Residence Inaugural Reading
Maroon Time: Time and Ancestry in the Poem
Publishing Landscape for BIPOC Writers
Kaie Kellough and Armand Ruffo in conversation
2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and author of How to Pronounce Knife
Kaie Kellough in conversation with Souvankham Thammavongsa (March 5, 2021)
Internationally-acclaimed novelist, YA novelist, and Children's Author. He has won the Governor-Generals' Award for Children's Literature, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work that is considered inspirational to Canadian Youth.
Omar El Akkad, former Creative Writing student with the Department of English at Queen’s University, is an author and a journalist. His work emerges at a crossroads of social engagement and investigative journalism.
Department of English, Queen's University
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