Acclaimed Israeli Author Etgar Keret to Speak at Bard College

Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) — Acclaimed Israeli author and filmmaker Etgar Keret will give a reading at Bard College on Monday, April 15, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. Keret will read selections from his recent work Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, as well as from The Girl on the Fridge, which contains his earliest stories. The reading takes place in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center; a question-and-answer session and book signing will follow. Admission is free and no reservations are necessary.

“Etgar Keret is one of the most popular and influential young writers in Israel today. His work has been widely translated and adapted and has been the basis for over 40 films,” says Cecile E. Kuznitz, associate professor of Jewish history and director of the Jewish Studies Program at Bard College. “We are very excited to host him at Bard as the first stop on his visit to the States this spring.” In addition to writing short stories, Keret has written and directed several films and writes a column for the English-language online magazine Tablet. “Keret can do more with six . . . paragraphs than most writers can with 600 pages,” according to People magazine.

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 10 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 22 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 200 books of the decade, and The Nimrod Flip-Out originally appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s magazine, Zoetrope (2004).

His most recent book, Suddenly a Knock on the Door (2010), became an instant No. 1 bestseller in Israel and is forthcoming in the States. Keret has received the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize several times, the Chevalier medallion of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, and has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize, and the Ministry of Culture’s Cinema Prize.

More than 40 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. Keret teaches at Ben Gurion University.

The event is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program with the generous support of the Posen Foundation, and is cosponsored by the Division of Languages and Literature and the Middle Eastern Studies Program.

For more information send an e-mail to, or call 845-758-7543.


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