Hymns from the Heartland

Erik Tanner for TIME

As a Muslim child in the American Midwest, Ayad Akhtar says he felt "invisible" — a member of a minority that "nobody really understood." Even now, "people still don't have any sense of what it feels like to be Muslim." Akhtar's debut novel, American Dervish, should set that straight. A riveting and disturbing tale of a Muslim boy grappling with the mysteries of love and religion, it is now being published in 20 languages, and the global rights have fetched some $750,000. At 41, Akhtar — who previously co-wrote and starred in The War Within, a 2005 film about...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!