Novelist and TV show creator Sayed Kashua to discuss his experience as a Palestinian citizen of Israel

Sayed Kashua, Israeli writer and creator of the hit TV show “Arab Labor,” will speak at Sarah Lawrence College on Tuesday, April 1 at 5:15 p.m. in the Reisinger Auditorium. Kashua is winner of Israel’s prestigious Bernstein Prize and in 2004, the Prime Minister’s Prize in Literature. He is the author of three novels and a satirical weekly column in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, all written in Hebrew. In his work Kashua addresses with humor the problems faced by Arabs in Israel, caught between two worlds. "The Foreign Mother Tongue: An Evening with Sayed Kashua" is free and open to the public.

Matthew Ellis, holder of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence, says that Sayed Kashua is one of the most important voices on the contemporary Israeli literary scene. “Kashua defies easy categorization: a Palestinian-Israeli who has chosen to write his fiction exclusively in Hebrew, he embodies a profound yearning for an expansive Israeli identity in a political context that increasingly has little room for nuance or shades of gray. In his novels, his weekly columns for Ha'aretz, and now in his hit TV sitcom, Kashua exposes some deep-seated, underlying fissures in Israeli society. Yet what makes him such a unique and powerful figure is the way he pursues his project without ever losing touch with a rich sense of humor and irony, and an abiding humanism; by pushing us to ask hard questions, Kashua wants to help all of us (though especially Israeli citizens) live more empathetically.”

In his talk, Kashua will speak about his experience growing up and pursuing a journalistic and literary career as a Palestinian in Israel, operating largely in a Hebrew world that tolerates him but never manages to accept him with open arms.

For more information and reservations, please call (914) 395-2412 or e-mail collegeevents@sarahlawrence.edu.

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