Matt Beynon Rees
Dancing Arabs, Sayed Kashua’s first novel, has been praised around the world for its uniquely human portrayal of a bright young Arab educated in an Israeli school who, trying to fit in two societies, ends up becoming a stranger in both. In Let It Be Morning, a journalist brings his family back to his native Arab village. Life is difficult, but it becomes impossible when Israeli tanks cut them off from the rest of the country. Both gripping novels address the political and human issues faced by this disempowered part of the population. Sayed Kashua spoke to the author of The Bethlehem Murders Matt Rees about identity, belonging, writing in Hebrew and being both Arab and Israeli today.
Sayed Kashua was born in the Arab town of Tira in 1975, and lives in the Beit Tsafafa suburb of Jerusalem. Since 1996, he has written for the Jerusalem weekly Kol Hair, the Tel Aviv weekly Hair and the Haaretz daily. His two novels, Dancing Arabs and Let It Be Morning, are both written in Hebrew. Kashua’s hero is totally Palestinian and equally Israeli. At the time, Sayed Kashua was writing a new sitcom for Israeli television.
As a journalist, Matt Beynon Rees has covered the Middle East for over a decade. He's a Contributor for Time based in Jerusalem, where he was the magazine's bureau chief from June 2000 until January 2006. Matt Beynon Rees published a nonfiction account of the divisions within Israeli and Palestinian societies called Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East in 2004. Bethlehem Murders was the first of a series of novels about Palestinian sleuth Omar Yussef .
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