Omar El Akkad on the journalistic career that inspired him to write American War

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By Ben East

Rising sea levels have swept away the southern coast of the United States. South Carolina is surrounded by a wall to prevent a virus from spreading. It is 2075 and the country is in the throes of a second civil war, ignited when southern states refused to accede to a law banning fossil fuels.

Author Omar El Akkad had so many plates to spin in the piecing together of his ambitious debut novel, he had to sit down and draw a map of the new US to refer to. This was, however, not the best idea for a journalist who is used to providing video content for his newspaper.

“I sketched out what the country would look like and the settings of the book, and then I pasted this giant wall map of the US to my office wall with Post-it notes on it,” he says. “I totally forgot that I had it behind me as I was doing a video piece, with this massive note on it saying ‘area of plague’. It was not a good look.” Read more
Source: The National
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