Jonas Hassen Khemiri, born in Sweden in 1978, is the author of four novels and six plays. His first novel, One Eye Red, received the Borås Tidning award for best literary debut. His second novel, Montecore, (published by Knopf in 2011) won several literary awards including the Swedish Radio Award for best novel of the year. And, his most recent novel, All I Don’t Remember, was awarded the August Prize, which is Sweden’s most important national literary award, given by the Swedish Publisher’s Association. Khemiri’s work has been translated into more than fifteen languages and his plays have been performed by over 100 international companies. In 2011 Invasion! received its US premiere in New York and Khemiri was awarded a Village Voice Obie Award for playwriting.
For an article in The New York Times by Jonas about racism and Sweden, click here.
Borås Prize for best Swedish Literary Debut (2004)
Per Olov Enquist Prize for young authors facing the future (2006)
VI Magazine Literary Prize (2006)
Colombine scholarship (2006)
Tidningen CITY’s literary award (2006)
Swedish Radio’s Novel Prize (2006)
The Bellman Award (2007)
Swedish Radio’s Prize for best Swedish Short Story (2008)
Shortlisted for the August Prize (2006)
HEDDA Award for best play (Norway, 2010)
John Fante Literary Prize (Italy, 2010)
OBIE Award for playwriting (US, 2011)
Ibsen Prize (Norway, 2011)
Henning Mankell scholarship (2011)
Ledig House, Hudson, New York (2004)
International Residency for Emerging Playwrights at Royal Court, London (2006)
Berliner Künstlerprogramm, DAAD, Berlin (2009)
Ledig House, Hudson, New York (2011)
≈ [ALMOST EQUAL TO]
In ≈ [Almost Equal To] we encounter a number of people who, seemingly invaded by numbers, are colliding with the economy surrounding them. Whether the character dreams about growing her way out of the contemporary economic system or wants to crush it, they all end up investing money in postage and pine nuts, fake bubbles and perfumes, strollers and utopias.
“Imagine sitting in a volcanic area where hot steam, under severe pressure, erupts unexpectedly around you. That sensation, of tension and release, permeates “[Almost Equal To]”…the play deftly addresses a dry subject with real-world impact.” - Star Tribune
“a provocative tragi-comedy, conceived with creativity, affection for the human condition, and a clear-eyed view of the barriers and falsehoods that block our promised pursuit of happiness.” - Talkin Broadway
"The play “≈[almost equal to]”... examines the intersecting lives of people who are barely scraping by. It’s compelling — the kind of play that can lead to great post-show discussion" - Pioneer Press
THE HUNDRED WE ARE
A near-death experience! In Khemiri’s third play THE HUNDRED WE ARE we meet a trio of women: A young revolutionary, a middle-aged living within her comfort zone, and an old truth seeker. Three persons who, in their fight to define themselves, realize that they are the same person. Join a unpredictable world where everyone fights to define the meaning of the word “we”.
US Premiere with Origin Theatre, NYC (2016). Developed at SATContemporary Reading Series, September 30, 2013.
"A portrait of a woman at war with her various selves." - The New York Times
"A surreal, phantasmagorical piece" - Theater Pizzazz
I CALL MY BROTHERS
A car has exploded in Stockholm. Amor is wandering around a paranoid city full of police, on the hunt for a spare part for a drill. He has a phone in his front pocket and a knife in his back pocket. He will answer when Shavi calls; he will stop stalking Valeria. Above all, he will act maximally normal. But what is normal behavior? Who is a potential suspect? And what happens when one becomes the target of suspicious glances? For 24 intense hours we find ourselves in Amor’s head, where the lines between criminal and victim, love and chemistry, and paranoia and reality become increasingly fuzzy. This play is based on a column Khemiri published in December, 2010 — one week after the suicide bombing in Stockholm.
Premiered with a Swedish tour, spring 2013. US premiere at Play Co., NYC (2014) with additional production at Crowded Fire (2016).
INVASION! is a tornado of words, images and ideas, all centered around a magical name: Abulkasem. The play assaults our deepest prejudices about identity, race and language. At once hilarious, disturbing and poignant, this deeply subversive play deconstructs a threatening identity – the Arabic male – and forces us to confront our own cultural identity.
INVASION! is Khemiri’s debut as a playwright. It was written for The Stockholm City Theatre, received splendid reviews and played two seasons of sold out performances. This drama debut opened the doors for Khemiri to participate at Royal Court’s International Residency in London 2006.
US Premiere: The Play Co., 2011. Subsequent production at Silk Road Rising, Chicago, 2013.
“This dark and angry comedy is like an extended, horrifyingly high-stakes game of Gossip, in which a word is whispered into a successive series of ears and emerges distorted beyond recognition…an aggressive work of theater. Its subject, in part, is the semantics of prejudice, the way foreign words echo and mutate in provincial ears….Mr. Khemiri celebrates language even as he considers its limitations.” – The New York Times