Etgar Keret

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Etgar Keret
Etgar Keret, 2005
Born אתגר קרת
(1967-08-20) August 20, 1967 (age 49)
Ramat Gan, Israel
Language Hebrew
Nationality Israeli / Polish
Alma mater Ben-Gurion University of the Negev,
Tel Aviv University
Genre short stories,
graphic novels,
Notable awards Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Spouse Shira Geffen


Etgar Keret (Hebrew: אתגר קרת‎‎, born August 20, 1967) is an Israeli writer known for his short stories, graphic novels, and scriptwriting for film and television.

Personal life[edit]

Keret was born in Ramat Gan, Israel in 1967.[1] He is a third child to parents who survived the Holocaust.[2] Both of his parents are from Poland.[3] 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.

Literary career[edit]

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).

Other media[edit]

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.[4]

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.

Keret's work is frequently featured on the National Public Radio program This American Life, which has presented readings of eight of his stories.[5]

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.”[6] Keret himself introduced several of the stories.[7]

In August 2012, the short film Glue [8] based on Etgar Keret's short story "Crazy Glue", participated in the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

In May 2013, the short film LieLand,[9] adapted and directed by Silvia Grossmann, a Brazilian/American filmmaker, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Writing style[edit]

Autograph on Keret's book, Jerusalem, 2010, writers' conference

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,[citation needed] as well as bringing a renewed surge in popularity for the short story form in Israel in the second half of the 1990s.[citation needed]


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.

In 1993 he won the first prize in the Alternative Theater Festival in Akko for Entebbe: A Musical, which he wrote with Jonathan Bar Giora.

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.[10]

In 2010, Keret received the Chevalier (Knight) Medallion of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. [11]



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."[12]

Works published in English[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

  • 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.
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).


Children's books[edit]

  • Dad Runs Away With The Circus, Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7636-2247-8.


15 short stories by Keret and a novella by El-Youssef.


See also[edit]

  • Keret House - maybe the narrowest house in the world.


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b Jaggi, Maya (17 March 2007). "Life at a louder volume". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Etgar Keret - IMDb
  5. ^ Etgar Keret | This American Life
  6. ^ Recent On-Air Episodes page on
  7. ^ PRI's Selected Shorts Presents "The World of Etgar Keret" (mp3 file)
  8. ^ Glue, the film
  9. ^ IMDb
  10. ^ Jury & candidates for 2010 Neustadt Prize Archived May 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., announced March 2009.
  11. ^ Israeli author wins prestigious award
  12. ^ McEwen, Todd (24 March 2007). "Review: Missing Kissinger by Etgar Keret". The Guardian. London. 

External links[edit]




Articles and reviews[edit]

Related sites[edit]