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Jonas Hassen Khemiri

Jonas Hassen Khemiri tijdens 'Young Urban Writer' in Theater aan het Spui/Filmhuis Den Haag op zaterdagavond 19 januari in Winternachten 2008.  - foto Serge Ligtenberg
Jonas Hassen Khemiri tijdens 'Young Urban Writer' in Theater aan het Spui/Filmhuis Den Haag op zaterdagavond 19 januari in Winternachten 2008.  - foto Serge Ligtenberg

(Sweden, 1978) has a Tunesian father and a Swedish mother. He studied literary theory in Stockholm and economics in Paris. In 2003 he made a successful debut with the novel Ett öga rött which was published in a Dutch translation in 2007 (A camel without a hump). In it an Arab pupil struggles with his identity in Stockholm and sets his own cultural background against the social reality around him. The novel was adapted for film. Khemiri's first play, Invasion!, gives an image (of the abuse) of the fear of the other. It was successfully staged in Sweden, Germany and France. Khemiri's second novel, Montecore, is being translated in Dutch.


Archive available for: Jonas Hassen Khemiri

  • Winternachten 2008

    Shabandar Café - Grand Café Oriental

    With: Ahmed Alaidy, Ashur Etwebi, Habib Selmi, Hassan Daoud, Hatem Bourial, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Khaled Khalifa, Laila Aboezaid, Lamis Saidi, Tamim al-Barghouti, Youssouf Amine Elalamy

    Shabandar Café is a programme by Gemak, the new centre for western and non-western art, politics and debate, of The Hague Gemeentemuseum and the Vrije Academie. With Shabandar Café Gemak links up with the Winternachten festival. Gemak is named after the famous meeting place of artists and intellectuals in Bagdad. Enjoy the most refined forms of Iraqi culture: live classical Arab Moqam music, an Iraqi storyteller and poetr, a short Iraqi documentary on Café Shabandar, tea and the tastiest Iraqi snacks.

    The exhisition space of Gemak has been decorated for the occasion in that of the original café, destroyed in March 2007. Honorary guests: the Arab writers taking part in festival Winternachten. An English-Arabic language programme, compiled by the Iraqi visual artist Rashad Selim.
    For more information on the programme see In English and Arabic

    Shabandar is the name of a café on Al Mutanabi Street
    where for decades Baghdad's cultural elites met
    discussing books, poetry and politics
    or dropping in for a coffee after visiting the book vendors' stalls
    on the busy street outside

    Everybody interested in books came here
    to buy them in the good years
    to sell them during the sanctions
    to be transported by their covers
    if they were penniless

    On the 5th of March 2007
    one car bomb attack among many
    destroyed Shabandar
    and the book market outside

    Shabandar Café has left Baghdad
    even if its walls are rebuilt
    5000 years of urban culture
    scattered to the four corners of the Earth

  • Winternachten 2008 – Winternachten zaterdagavond

    Young + Urban + Writer

    Is this a coincidence? Three debuts from countries far apart, showing striking resemblances. The novels of Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), Hassan Bahara (Netherlands) and Ahmad al-Aidi (Egypt) are set in the big city, in multi-ethnic surroundings, and the main characters share the same radical anti-attitude: they rebel against the dominant culture or against their own insensitive milieu. How to rebel? By manipulating, bastardising, by silencing language, by, as is the case with Al-Aidi, mixing street language with classical Arabic. These young urban writers give us their image of contemporary, chaotic city life and although this is not particularly cheerful, at least their free use of language makes for an agreeable vitality. New literature of the 21st century. Interviewer: Paul van der Gaag. In English.