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Writers Programmes in the Central Library in The Hague

Writers Series

Sayed Kashua, Palestinian author in Israël

Studio B - Centrale Bibliotheek Den Haag, Spui 68, 1e etage

An interview with columnist Hassnae Bouazza and the Palestinian Sayed Kashua (language: English). A conversation on the upside and downside of authorship in between two worlds. He presents the Dutch edition of his novel 'Second person singular'. Click here to see the video.

Sayed Kashua (Tiga, 1975) is one of the most prominent and promising young Palestinians of the moment. A novelist, journalist and TV critic, he also writes a weekly column for the newspaper Ha'aretz. In 2003, Sayed published his debut novel Dansende Arabieren [Dancing Arabs] (publishers Vassalucci). In 2011, he won the prestigious Bernstein Prize for Tweede persoon enkelvoud [Second person singular] About the work of Sayed Kashua: 'Dancing in two worlds filled with prejudice, racism and hate does not make for enjoyment. The clever thing about Kashua is his ability to portray both worlds, and his own confusion, in such a frank way.' Trouw

Hassnae Bouazza
Bouazza is a columnist for Vrij Nederland and Frontaal Naakt, among others, and writes editorials in various media. She has conducted research for the VPRO and produced programmes for various broadcasters. In her editorials, she criticises both the Dutch who stigmatise Muslims and Muslims who do nothing to respond to Wilders and his associates.

On 'Second person singular'
The first narrator is a nameless, dedicated Palestinian criminal lawyer living in East Jerusalem. One day, he comes across a letter written by his wife in an antiquarian copy of Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata. In this letter, she thanks someone for a wonderful evening. The lawyer becomes crazed with jealousy and embarks on a desperate search for the truth.

The other narrator in the novel is a young social worker, also an Arab Israeli. She looks after a Jewish boy, Jonathan, who is at home in a coma. After accompanying a colleague to an Arab student party, the social worker writes him a sweet thank-you note. In turns, the narrators tell their tales, revealing the story of a marriage in crisis and the issue of Palestinian identity in a Jewish environment. The gradual emergence of the relationship between the story lines makes this novel exceptional.