2017 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist

Omar Al Ekkad

Omar El Akkad
American War
McClelland & Stewart

Omar El Akkad


"Omar El Akkad’s chilling novel grips the reader from its first page and never lets go.

After a ban on fossil fuels is imposed by the US government, the South refuses to comply, and America is riven by a second Civil War that grips a continent already shrunken by the effects of climate change. Through the enigmatic character of Sarat, we suffer the indignities of poverty and war, and tread the fine line between terrorist and freedom fighter. By building this nightmarish yet credible world, El Akkad exposes the way the politics of resentment and revenge can fester and self-propagate. American War is a rare beast indeed: it’s a war we wished would never end."

- 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize jury Michael Christie, Christy Ann Conlin, and Tracey Lindberg 

About the Book

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war as one of the Miraculous Generation and now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past -- his family's role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

About the Author

Omar El Akkad was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in Doha, Qatar, until he moved to Canada with his family. He is a journalist who has reported on the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, the military trials at Guantanamo Bay, the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt, and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri. He is a recipient of a National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and the Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, as well as three National Magazine Award honorable mentions. El Akkad lives in Portland, Oregon.




Woodcock Fund



Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 20 and September 18, 2018


Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize


July 18 for books published between May 16 and Sept 30, 2018


Recommended Reading List

We asked some of Canada's finest writers about what they are reading this summer.

Read their Recommendations.


E Newsletter Sign Up

Sign-up for our eNewsletter. Get info about Authors and our latest Events.

Sign up now!

Site design & development supported by

ecentricarts inc