Etgar Keret, 2005
August 20, 1967
Ramat Gan, Israel
|Nationality||Israeli / Polish|
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev,|
Tel Aviv University
|Notable awards||Ordre des Arts et des Lettres|
Keret was born in Ramat Gan, Israel in 1967. He is a third child to parents who survived the Holocaust. Both of his parents are from Poland. He lives in Tel Aviv with his wife, Shira Geffen, and their son, Lev. He is a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, and at Tel Aviv University. He holds dual Israeli and Polish citizenship.
Keret's first published work was Pipelines (צינורות, Tzinorot, 1992), a collection of short stories which was largely ignored when it came out. His second book, Missing Kissinger (געגועיי לקיסינג'ר, Ga'agu'ai le-Kissinger, 1994), a collection of fifty very short stories, caught the attention of the general public. The short story "Siren", which deals with the paradoxes of modern Israeli society, is included in the curriculum for the Israeli matriculation exam in literature.
Keret has co-authored several comic books, among them Nobody Said It Was Going to Be Fun (לא באנו ליהנות, Lo banu leihanot, 1996) with Rutu Modan and Streets of Fury (סמטאות הזעם, Simtaot Haza'am, 1997) with Asaf Hanuka. In 1999, five of his stories were translated into English, and adapted into "graphic novellas" under the joint title Jetlag. The illustrators were the five members of the Actus Tragicus collective.
In 1998, Keret published Kneller's Happy Campers (הקייטנה של קנלר, Hakaytana Shel Kneller), a collection of short stories. The title story, the longest in the collection, follows a young man who commits suicide and goes on a quest for love in the afterlife. It appears in the English language collection of Keret's stories The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories (2004) and was adapted into the graphic novel Pizzeria Kamikaze (2006), with illustrations by Asaf Hanuka. Keret's latest short story collections are Anihu (אניהו, literally I-am-him, 2002; translated into English as Cheap Moon, after one of the other stories in the collection) and Pitom Defikah Ba-delet (פתאום דפיקה בדלת, translated into English as Suddenly a Knock at the Door).
Keret also wrote a children's book Dad Runs Away with the Circus (2004), illustrated by Rutu Modan.
Keret publishes some of his works on the Hebrew-language web site "Bimah Hadashah" (New Stage).
Keret has worked in Israeli television and film, including three seasons as a writer for the popular sketch show The Cameri Quintet. He also wrote the story for the 2001 TV movie Aball'e starring Shmil Ben Ari.
In 2006, Wristcutters: A Love Story, a dark comedy/love story based on Keret's novella Kneller's Happy Campers, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The story was adapted by director Goran Dukić into a film starring Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Tom Waits and Will Arnett.
Etgar and his wife Shira directed the 2007 film Jellyfish, based on a story written by Shira.
$9.99, a stop motion animated feature film, was released in 2009. Written by Keret and directed by Tatia Rosenthal, it is an Israeli/Australian co-production featuring the voices of Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia and other leading Australian actors.
In 2010 a short feature film based on Keret's story was released. An Exclusive novella was adapted and directed by the young Polish director Krzysztof Szot. The film, also known as Wyłączność (An Exclusive), was presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 in the Short Film Corner section.
In October 2011 the public radio show Selected Shorts devoted an entire show to live readings of Keret's stories, including “Suddenly a Knock at the Door,” “Halibut," “Lieland”, and “Fatso.” Keret himself introduced several of the stories.
Keret's writing style is lean, using everyday language, slang, and dialect. Often his stories are surreal, but believably so, leaving you in a curious world much like yours, where the boundaries of possibility are easily changing. His work has influenced many writers of his generation, as well as bringing a renewed surge in popularity for the short story form in Israel in the second half of the 1990s.
Keret has received the Prime Minister's award for literature, as well as the Ministry of Culture's Cinema Prize. In 2006 he was chosen as an outstanding artist of the prestigious Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation.
The short film Malka Lev Adom (Skin Deep, 1996), which Keret wrote and directed with Ran Tal, won an Israel Film Academy award and first place in the Munich International Festival of Film Schools. The film Jellyfish, a joint venture for Keret and his wife received the Camera d'Or prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Missing Kissinger won the 2008 JQ Wingate Prize.
Keret was on the jury for the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
In 2010, Keret received the Chevalier (Knight) Medallion of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
- Miller's Crossing by the Coen brothers
- Twelve Monkeys by Terry Gilliam
A review of Missing Kissinger by Todd McEwen describes Etgar Keret's locale as that of "male confusion, loneliness, blundering, bellowing and, above all, stasis. His narrator is trapped in an angry masculine wistfulness which is awful to behold in its masturbatory disconnection from the world's real possibilities and pleasures." Etgar is "not much of a stylist - you get the impression that he throws three or four of these stories off on the bus to work every morning," and his "wild, blackly inventive pieces...might have been dreamed up by a mad scientist rather than a writer."
Works published in English
Short story collections
- The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories, New York: Toby Press, 2004, ISBN 1-59264-105-9 (paperback).
- Includes "Kneller's Happy Campers" and other stories.
- The Nimrod Flipout, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006, ISBN 0-374-22243-6 (paperback).
- Selections from Keret's four short-story collections.
- Missing Kissinger, Vintage Books, 2008, ISBN 0-09-949816-2 (paperback).
- The Girl On The Fridge, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008, ISBN 0-374-53105-6 (paperback).
- Includes "Crazy Glue" and other short stories from Keret's first collections.
- Four Stories, Syracuse University Press, 2010, ISBN 0-8156-8156-9 (paperback).
- A Moonless Night (Am Oved Publishers Ltdd., 2010)with Shira Geffen and David Polonsky
- Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, ISBN 978-0-374-53333-5 (paperback).
- Jetlag, Tel Aviv, Actus Tragicus, 1998; Top Shelf Productions, 1999, ISBN 965-90221-0-7.
- Pizzeria Kamikaze, illustrated by Asaf Hanuka, Alternative Comics, 2005, ISBN 1-891867-90-3.
- Dad Runs Away With The Circus, Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7636-2247-8.
- Gaza Blues with Samir El-Youssef, London: David Paul, 2004, ISBN 0-9540542-4-5.
- 15 short stories by Keret and a novella by El-Youssef.
- Seven Good Years: A Memoir, New York: Riverhead Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1594633263.
- Keret House - maybe the narrowest house in the world.
- Michael Gluzman; Naomi Seidman (1 September 1996). Israel: a traveler's literary companion. Whereabouts Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-1-883513-03-0. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- Jaggi, Maya (17 March 2007). "Life at a louder volume". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- Etgar Keret - IMDb
- Etgar Keret | This American Life
- Recent On-Air Episodes page on SelectedShorts.org
- PRI's Selected Shorts Presents "The World of Etgar Keret" (mp3 file)
- Glue, the film
- Jury & candidates for 2010 Neustadt Prize Archived May 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., announced March 2009.
- Israeli author wins prestigious award
- McEwen, Todd (24 March 2007). "Review: Missing Kissinger by Etgar Keret". The Guardian. London.
- Institute for Translation of Hebrew Literature - bio and list of works
- Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation - bio and press reviews
- Meakin Armstrong interviews Etgar Keret in Guernica (magazine), [August, 2015)
- Interview, The Observer, February 13, 2005.
- interview The Believer (April 2006).
- A Conversation With Etgar Keret by George Saunders at the 2007 PEN World Voices Festival, Script
- A Conversation With Etgar Keret by George Saunders at the 2007 PEN World Voices Festival, Audio
- Interview CBC (May 2008)
- Interview, Tikkun magazine (September/October 2005).
- Conversation with Etgar Keret, Pandalous
- WWB Interviews Etgar Keret on Tradition, Translation, and Alien Toasters, Words Without Borders
- "Second Chance" - a short story, Guernica Magazine (January 2010)
- "The Nimrod Flip Out" - a short story, Zoetrope: All-Story (Summer 2004)
- "One Hundred Percent" - a short story, LA Weekly (March 2007)
- Etgar Keret reads "Hat Trick" from The Girl on the Fridge, PEN American Center (2008)
- Myth Milk by: Etgar Keret from The Girl on the Fridge, PEN American Center
- "An Exclusive" - a short story, LA Weekly (September 2007)
- "Freeze" - a short story, LA Weekly (January 2008)
- "Loquat" - a short story, LA Weekly (April 2008)
- "Snot" - a short story, Pandalous (September 2009)
- Etgar Keret at Bamah Hadashah - selected works (in Hebrew)
- Magic & childhood - Three tales of innocence from Israel
Articles and reviews
- Stupor in Our Times - article on Israeli politics by Keret, originally published in the New York Times (March 2006), via PEN American Center.
- The Incursion of Politics into the Private Sphere Article by Lewis Gropp about Keret's joint project with Samir El-Youssef, Qantara.de (August 2006)
- Review of The Nimrod Flipout - By Michael Lukas, Tikkun magazine
- Translating Monsters into Songbirds: the Stories of Etgar Keret - By James Warner, Identity Theory