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NYS Writers Institute, March 16, 2009
4:00 p.m. Seminar & Reading | Campus Center 375

Etgar Keret,
fiction writer, filmmaker, the leading literary figure among younger Israelis, and winner of the 2007 Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for “Jellyfish,” will discuss his fiction on Monday, March 16 at 4:00 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME] in Campus Center 375 on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The afternoon event is free and open to the public. Later that same day, Keret will offer commentary following a 6:45 p.m. screening of the film “Jellyfish” at the Spectrum Theatre, 290 Delaware Ave. in Albany. Admission is $8.50 general public, $6.75 UAlbany faculty and students. The events are sponsored by the University at Albany’s Judaic Studies Department and the New York State Writers Institute.

Etgar Keret,
Israeli author of short fiction, graphic novels, and screenplays, is the leading literary figure and cultural spokesperson for younger Israelis. Best-known for highly compressed, comic, absurdist short stories that avoid explicit political commentary, Keret nonetheless insists that all of his work is ideological.

Writing in “Tikkun,” Michael Lukas said, “In short, uncanny, and often hilarious bursts, Etgar Keret taps into the profound existential absurdity of being Israeli.” The “People” magazine reviewer said Keret “can do more with six strange and funny paragraphs than most writers can with 600 pages.”
Etgar Keret’s work in English translation includes “The Girl on the Fridge: Stories” (2008),  “Missing Kissinger” (2007), “Pizzeria Kamakaze” (2007), “The Nimrod Flipout” (2006), “Jetlag: Five Graphic Novellas” (2006), “Dad Runs Away with the Circus” (2004), and “Gaza Blues” (with Palestinian fiction writer Samir El-Youssef, 2004).

“The Girl on the Fridge” features some of Etgar Keret’s darkest stories. A magician’s performance at a birthday party ends in carnage. A girl is parented to adulthood by a refrigerator. A group of children attempt to hang a cat after hearing a media report about an execution. “New York Times” reviewer Joseph Weisberg said that Keret’s stories “present an extraordinary vision, a fresh, original and effective portrait of a society…. a view from the ground, as genuine as it is bleak.”

In “Missing Kissinger,” a flightless angel becomes roadkill on a highway, a young boy finds self-affirmation in a magical ability to command ants, and a girl gives birth to a dinosaur egg, among other oddities. The UK “Daily Mail” called it “easily one of the most memorable, moving and laugh-aloud-funny books you’ll read in a long time.”

Etgar Keret codirected the film “Jellyfish” [“Meduzot”] (2007) with his wife Shira Geffen. Winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes, the film is the magical tale of three women whose lives are changed after a mysterious little girl washes up on a Tel Aviv beach. Writing in “Salon,” Andrew O’Hehir said that the film’s three stories “are lovely and concise, with little emotional depth charges beneath them and nary a second wasted.”

NOTE: On March 13, the previous Friday, the Writers Institute will also screen the film “Wristcutters: A Love Story” (United States/United Kingdom, 2006, 88 minutes, color, directed by Goran Dukic), which is based on a short story by Etgar Keret, in association with his visit. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Page Hall on the University at Albany’s downtown campus. Based on Keret’s short story “Kneller’s Happy Campers,” “Wristcutters” is set in a peculiar afterlife populated exclusively by characters who have committed suicide.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.