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Portland, OR

The Future: Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman discusses her novel The Future, about friends who plot a daring heist to save the world from the tech billionaires threatening it.

This week we have a conversation featuring Naomi Alderman, who joined us for Portland Book Festival in November 2023 for the very first event for her new novel, The Future. Alderman is the author of the mega best-seller, Barack Obama-endorsed, Margaret Atwood-mentored novel The Power. She talks with interviewer Omar El Akkad about the pressure she felt writing this follow-up, about a handful of friends who plot a daring heist to save the world from the tech billionaires who are threatening it. Bookpage called it “A daring, sexy, thrilling novel that may be the most wryly funny book about the end of civilization you’ll ever read.”

The conversation explores different modes of storytelling, from novel writing, of course, and Alderman also shares her experience working on the TV adaptation of The Power and having to approach her own story in a different way once more people became involved. Alderman is also a successful video game designer, and she and El Akkad make a great case about the storytelling in video games.

“Hillary Mantel said, “A novel brings the news.” I love that thought. I’m very interested in novels that speak to what’s happening now.”

Naomi Alderman is the bestselling author of The Power, which was the winner of the 2017 Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was longlisted for the 2017 Orwell Prize and chosen as one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, Entertainment Weekly and the San Francisco ChronicleThe Power topped Barack Obama’s list of his favorite books from 2017 and has been translated into more than thirty languages. Naomi grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. Her latest book, The Future, was released in November 2023.

Omar El Akkad is an author and a journalist. He has reported from Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, and many other locations around the world. His work earned Canada’s National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists. His writing has appeared in The GuardianLe MondeGuernicaGQ, and many other newspapers and magazines. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than ten other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York TimesThe Washington PostGQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. His latest novel is What Strange Paradise, which won the 2022 Ken Kesey Award for Fiction