Sayed Kashua was born in Tira in the Triangle region of Israel to parents of Palestinian descent. In 1990, he was accepted to a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem - Israel Arts and Science Academy. He studied sociology and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Kashua was a resident of Beit Safafa before moving to a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem with his wife and children.
Kashua has accepted teaching positions in Chicago, Illinois, moving there with his wife and three children for the 2014/15 academic year. He will participate in the Creative Writing program's bilingualism workshop at the University of Chicago and is a visiting scholar in the Israel Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His Haaretz column of July 4, titled "Why Sayed Kashua is leaving Jerusalem and never coming back: Everything people had told him since he was a teenager is coming true. Jewish-Arab co-existence has failed." , was published at a volatile time in the country's intergroup relations, involving the kidnapping/murders of Jewish students in the West Bank and an Arab youth in East Jerusalem, though prior to the July 8 outbreak of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict. His declaration elicited numerous responses in the Israeli press from colleagues and readers who were concerned by the issues he raises.
Kashua publishes a personal weekly column in Hebrew for Haaretz newspaper and a local Jerusalem weekly, HaIr. In a humorous, tongue-in-cheek style, his anecdotal pieces address the problems faced by Arabs in Israel.
Avoda Aravit, or in English, Arab Labor, is a satirical sitcom written by Kashua and aired on Israel's Channel 2. A large part of the dialogue is in Arabic with Hebrew subtitles. The show is about a young Arab couple, Amjad (Norman Issa) and Bushra (Clara Khoury), and their young daughter, who live in an Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Amjad is a journalist working for a Hebrew newspaper (much like Haaretz) who desperately seeks to assimilate into the prevailing Israeli Jewish cultural milieu with mixed and hilarious results. The show holds a mirror up to the racism and ignorance on both sides of the ethnic divide and has been compared with All in the Family.
Awards and prizes
- In 2004, Kashua won the Prime Minister's prize for literature.
- Arab Labor won the Award for Best Television Series at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
- Kashua won the 2011 Bernstein Prize for his novel Second Person Singular.
- Dancing Arabs (2002)
- Let it be Morning (2006)
- Second Person Singular (2010) (also published as Exposure (2013))
A 2009 documentary film produced by Dorit Zimbalist, Sayed Kashua — Forever Scared, documents the upheavals and events that changed Kashua's life over a period of seven years.
- Kershner, Isabel (2008-01-07). "Straddling Cultures, Irreverently, in Life and Art — New York Times". Israel: Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
- Atlantic Books: Sayed Kashua
- "Boston Review — lalami.php". Bostonreview.net. Retrieved 2011-07-19.[dead link]
- Sayed Kashua[dead link] on The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature website
- "Award winners". webcache.googleusercontent.com.[dead link]
- פרס ברנשטיין לסייד קשוע [The Bernstein Prize to Sayed Kashua] (in Hebrew), ישראל היום, July 19, 2011, p. 31
- Pulled through from fear Sigrid Brinkmann, Germany Radio. 2005-06-21
- Sayed Qashu; Miriam Shlesinger (9 April 2004). Dancing Arabs. Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-4126-2. Retrieved 19 July 2011.