Ayad Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An award-winning author, playwright, screenwriter, and actor, he is the author of a novel, American Dervish, published in over twenty languages worldwide, and was nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay for the film The War Within. His plays include Disgraced, produced at New York's Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and on Broadway in 2014 and recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; The Who & The What, produced at Lincoln Center Theater in 2014; and The Invisible Hand, produced at New York Theater Workshop in 2014. He has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing. He lives in New York City.