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Etgar Keret  

Best-Selling Israeli Writer Award-winning Filmmaker

Hailed as the voice of young Israel and one of its most radical and extraordinary writers, Etgar Keret is internationally acclaimed for his short stories. Born in Tel Aviv in 1967 to an extremely diverse family, his brother heads an Israeli group that lobbies for the legalization of marijuana, and his sister is an orthodox Jew and the mother of ten children. Keret regards his family as a microcosm of Israel. His book, The Nimrod Flip-Out, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006), is a collection of 32 short stories that captures the craziness of life in Israel today. Rarely extending beyond three or four pages, these stories fuse the banal with the surreal. Shot through with a dark, tragicomic sensibility and casual, comic-strip violence, he offers a window on a surreal world that is at once funny and sad.

His books are bestsellers in Israel and have been published in over thirty languages. Books include Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God (2004, St. Martin’s Press); Missing Kissinger (2007, Chatto & Windus); and Gaza Blues (2004). In France, Kneller’s Happy Campers is listed as one of the Fnac’s two-hundred books of the decade, and The Nimrod Flip-Out was published in Francis Ford Coppola’s magazine Zoetrope (2004). His most recent book Suddenly a Knock on the Door (2010) became an instant #1 bestseller in Israel. His next book, The Seven Good Years, a nonfiction account of his personal life, is due in 2015. Keret has received the Book Publishers Associations Platinum Prize several times, the Chevalier medallion of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, and has been awarded the Prime Ministers Prize and the Ministry of Culture`s Cinema Prize. More than forty short movies have been based on his stories, one of which won the American MTV Prize (1998). Keret’s stories have even inspired Polish architect Jakub Szczesny to build in Warsaw the narrowest house in the world (38 inches wide). The house was named after Keret, who will be using the house for several years.

As a filmmaker, Keret is the writer of several feature screenplays, including Skin Deep (1996), which won First Prize at several international film festivals and was awarded the Israeli Oscar. Wrist Cutters, featuring Tom Waits, was released in August 2007. Jellyfish, his first movie as a director along with his wife Shira Geffen, won the coveted Camera d’Or prize for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival 2007. The animated feature film $9.99, based on several of Keret’s stories, marries the tradition of Jewish self-flagellating humor with uncanny absurdity. The film shows us miracles coexisting with the mundane, and offers a beguiling view of what hope looks like in a hauntingly fragmented world. Keret, at present, teaches at Ben Guryon University.


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Speech Topics

Is Reality Overrated?

The Dark and the Surreal World of Etgar Keret

The Keret House in Warsaw

What Animal Are you?

The Seven Good Years

Shorts and Shorts: An Evening of Keret’s Short Stories and Short Films

Israeli Fiction through Literature and Film

An Evening with Etgar Keret

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