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

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