Etgar Keret
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SAL Presents

Etgar Keret

Past Event: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At Town Hall Seattle—The Great Hall

Equal parts Franz Kafka and Kurt Vonnegut, and suffused with inimitable and absurdist hilarity, Israeli writer Etgar Keret is a singular voice in contemporary literature. His masterful short stories, at once dark and delightfully comedic, capture human experience in all of its inspiring beauty and perplexing shortcomings and bewitch readers with their surreal worlds.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1967, Keret is a favorite author of Israel’s younger generation, as well as an international success for his short stories (Suddenly a Knock on the Door); his children’s stories (Dad Runs Away with the Circus); graphic novels (Pizzeria Kamikaze); and short movies (Jellyfish). According to Keret, “I really think that when you write or make films, you try to show how you experience reality. I don’t experience it as realism, which is objective, and something people agree on. The moment you accept subjectiveness, it transcends realism—falling in love is like flying in the air.” His feature film Wristcutters (2006) won several international awards. Over 40 short movies have been based on his stories, including $9.99, released to critical acclaim in 2009.

Keret’s books have been published abroad in 31 languages in 35 countries, and he has received numerous awards including the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize and the Ministry of Culture’s Cinema Prize. In 2007, Keret and Shira Gefen won the Cannes Film Festival’s “Camera d’Or” award for their movie Jellyfish. In 2010, Keret was honored in France with the decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lectures at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Keret visits Seattle on tour with the English translation of his sixth bestselling short story collection, Suddenly, a Knock on the Door.

Q & A with Etgar Keret

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Respectfulness. It is good for nothing and stands in the way of almost anything that is fun.

What is your idea of happiness?
“Happiness” and “love” are two words I usually avoid, and it is not because I do not know these feelings well, it is just that every time I try to articulate those feelings in words I feel as if I’m diminishing them.

With which historical figure do you most identify?
Job (In the complaining aspect not in the suffering one). I see myself as a Job-lite (or a Diet Job, don’t know how they call those low calorie drinks in the States).

What is your most treasured possession?
My family. Without them I’m just a sophisticated piece of mud.

Who are your favorite writers?
Kafka, Vonnegut and Babel. Each of them created a breathtaking world in his own mind-image.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents. Surviving the Holocaust and staying optimistic people who believe in the goodness of mankind is not a small feat.

More Keret on his own official site. Thank you to Community Partners Israeli, and the Seattle Jewish Film Festival for their support of Etgar Keret’s event.

Event Details

Town Hall Seattle—The Great Hall

1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

Town Hall Seattle is centrally located at 1119 8th Ave, on the corner of 8th and Seneca. Their venue is served by frequent bus routes, is near access to light rail stations, and close to a number of parking options nearby. Please see their website for more details.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing losses, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. To make a request for open captioning, please contact us at [email protected] or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: for in-person events at Town Hall Seattle, we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure captioning services. 

Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video for online events. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Town Hall Seattle has a hearing loop system, so you can switch your T-coil hearing aid to telecoil to have the stage’s microphones transmitted directly to your hearing aids. To pick up a headset, check in with any Town Hall usher when you arrive.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at [email protected] or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at Town Hall Seattle, which is fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Town Hall Seattle recommends that visitors use the 8th Avenue Entrance for events in the Great Hall, and elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. The venue has all-gender, ADA-accessible restrooms on the lobby and Forum level. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, please contact us at [email protected] or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on accessibility features at Town Hall, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

All-gender restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at [email protected], or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.