Keret & El-Youssef

The Guardian‘s coverage of Hay-on-Wye continued through the weekend, with this article on whether politics had any role in it at all.

Also attempting to complicate our view of the Middle East were two writers who took the stage with novelist Linda Grant. Etgar Keret and Samir el-Youssef are Israeli and Palestinian respectively; both short story writers, they have just published a joint collection called Gaza Blues in which Israeli soldiers won’t stop talking even when they’re dead, and a Palestinian in a Lebanese refugee camp tries to score some dope from a member of the Tanzim. Their first festival event was so popular a second had to be scheduled. Only in Hay-on-Wye, however, would such a serious discussion be punctuated – nearly overwhelmed, in fact – by the distressed squealing of a large pig (Muriel, who had just been awarded to Jasper Fforde, Wodehouse comic novelist of the year). “I don’t know what it’s worried about,” commented Keret, drily. “He’s Muslim and I’m Jewish and neither of us eats pork.”