Israeli author and director shares his creative process with Kent State


Etgar Keret, an Israeli author, tells his audience in the KIVA about how he began writing short stories on Wednesday April 24, 2013. Photo by Chelsae Ketchum.

Ben Miller

Etgar Keret, Israeli author and director, visited Kent State University Wednesday night in the Kiva for the Guest of Honor University Artist/Lecture Series.

Both the Office of the Provost and the Honors College sponsored the event. Keret’s lecture, titled “The Dark and the Surreal: The Fiction of Etgar Keret” discussed a series of short stories he has published over the years. He is known for his book, “The Nimrod Flipout,” which features 32 of his short stories.

“My strongest influences were my parent’s bedtime stories,” Keret said. “And I think this is what makes my stories simple and accessible to readers, young and old.”

Keret said he finds short story fiction writing is becoming more popular in the digital media realm because of the convenience of technology.

“It’s like the difference between an opera and a pop song,” Keret said. “An opera requires people to get a babysitter for a night, but you can hear a three or four minute-long pop song on the radio for free. The format a writer chooses heavily influences how [his or her] message is conveyed.”

During his lecture, Keret offered advice to aspiring student-writers. One big tip he said students should keep in mind when writing is to send their stories and writing to friends, family and anyone willing to read it to get opinions.

Lyndsey Herman, senior psychology major, said she was impressed with Keret’s presentation.

“It was interesting to learn how his creativity began and how his unconventional family factored into his writing,” Herman said. “His story was very impressive to hear.”

Deborah Craig, Honors College coordinator, said she arranged for Keret to speak at Kent State. Craig said she intended to introduce Keret before the lecture, but she said she was unable to attend and William Palmer, dean of the Honors College, introduced him in her absence.

Palmer said Craig chose Keret because of his diverse background and his rousing stories.

“She likes to bring people students wouldn’t normally get to meet,” Palmer said.

Keret is the third and final speaker for the Guest of Honor University Artist/Lecture Series for the 2012-2013 academic year.

A reception and book signing concluded the lecture, and both events were free and open to the public.

Chaya Kessler, Jewish Studies lecturer, attended the lecture and she said she thought Keret was brilliant.

“I’m so glad we were able to bring in Keret,” Kessler said. “It’s really great to have an author of his caliber come and speak at Kent.”

Contact Ben Miller at [email protected].