You are here

Announcing One Book One SFU: Washington Black

January 30th, 2020, Esi Edugyan in conversation with Omar El Akkad

About the book

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, "Washington Black is an engrossing hybrid of 19th-century adventure and contemporary subtlety, a rip-roaring tale of peril imbued with our most persistent strife." -- Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"Escape is only the beginning. From the brutal cane plantations of Barbados to the icy wastes of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-filled streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black is the tale –- inspired by a true story –- of a world destroyed and the search to make it whole again." -- 2018 Man Booker Prize Longlist Synopsis

Borrow the book: Copies of Washington Black are available to all members of the SFU community at SFU Burnaby's W.A.C. Bennett Library, SFU Vancouver's Belzberg Library, and SFU Surrey's Fraser Library.

About the speakers

Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan is the author of the novels The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, Half-Blood Blues, and Washington Black. Half-Blood Blues won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction.
Her latest novel, Washington Black, also won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad is an author and journalist. He has reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and numerous other locations around the world. He is the recipient of a National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists.

His work has appeared in The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, and many other newspapers and magazines. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages.

Omar lives in the woods just south of Portland, Oregon. 

Listen to the conversation

Watch the evening of reading and conversation with Esi Edugyan and Omar El Akkad.


Esi Edugyan & Omar El Akkad


January 30




Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings St., Vancouver

Registration information

This event took place on January 30th, 2020.


    SFU Library, SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, Pulpfiction Books.

    Contact for further information

    Please contact Leah Hopton by email: lhopton at

    Accessibility Information

    The building is accessible via Hastings Street and the Cordova Street Courtyard (accessed by a ramp outside the Woodward's Westbank Atrium). The entrance to the ramp is across from JJ Bean Coffee, under the Stan Douglas Mural. The Mowafaghian Cinema is accessible by elevator.

    In order to create a space where people with multiple chemical sensitivities can participate, please do not wear perfumes, colognes or other scented products.

    All-gender and accessible bathrooms are available at this venue.

    If you have any requests, concerns, or questions regarding accessibility at this event, please contact Leah Hopton by email: lhopton at