September 22, 2014
Topic: Arts & Culture
Sayed Kashua is arguably one of Israel’s most accomplished and celebrated writers, but just figuring out what to call him has political ramifications. Is he an Israeli-Arab? An Arab-Israeli? A Palestinian Israeli citizen? Or all or none of the above?
His search for identity, as expressed through his many written works, will be the subject of his talk at 7 p.m. Sept. 30, “The Foreign Mother Tongue: Living and Writing as a Palestinian in Israel.” It will take place at the Alumni Center Founders Room at 200 Fletcher St.
Kashua is the author of three novels and writes a satirical weekly column in Hebrew for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, and the writer and creator of the hit Israeli TV show “Arab Labor” (Avoda Aravit), now in its third season. In 2004, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize in Literature. He is renowned for addressing the problems faced by Arabs in Israel, caught between two worlds, in a tongue-in-cheek style.
“Sayed Kashua is my favorite contemporary Israeli writer,” said Shachar Pinsker, associate professor of Judaic studies who arranged Kashua’s visit. “He is an acclaimed Palestinian writer, film and TV maker, whose mother tongue is Arabic, but he writes almost exclusively in Hebrew. His use of laughter through tears brings to my mind the best of modern Jewish writing in the diaspora — but he probably has a great joke that will contest this statement.”
The event is sponsored by the Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program.