Jonas Hassen Khemiri is one of the most important writers of his generation in Sweden. When his debut novel, One Eye Red (Ett öga rött) was published in 2003, Khemiri’s eccentric and imaginative prose made a huge splash and reached an audience far beyond traditional literary circles. The book-turned-phenomenon was awarded the Borås Tidning Award for Best Literary Debut Novel and also became an enormous bestseller, selling over 200,000 copies in paperback – the most of any book, all categories, in Sweden in 2004.
Khemiri’s equally original second novel, Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger (Montecore – en unik tiger), was published to rave reviews and was awarded the prestigious P.O. Enquist Literary Prize, won Swedish Radio’s Award for Best Novel, and was nominated for the August Award, the highest literary prize in Sweden. Upon its US publication by Alfred A Knopf, The New York Times Book Review dubbed the novel “wondrous.”
In 2012, following a terrorist bombing in central Stockholm, Khemiri published the powerful short novel I Call My Brothers (Jag ringer mina bröder) to great critical acclaim.
Khemiri’s novels have been translated into over a dozen languages. He is also a celebrated playwright, whose six plays have been performed by over fifty international companies on stages from Stockholm to Berlin to New York to London. He was awarded a Village Voice Obie Award for his first play Invasion!, which premiered in New York in 2011. The second play God Times Five toured Sweden and the third play We Are A Hundred received the Hedda Award for best play in Norway. Khemiri’s most recent play ≈[Almost Equal To] premiered at Dramaten in Stockholm in October 2014 to raving reviews. It is currently being translated into English, Norwegian, French, German and Icelandic.
In 2013, Khemiri’s open letter to the Swedish Minister of Justice in response to the controversial police project REVA, which was first published in Dagens Nyheter, rapidly became one of the most shared articles on social media in Swedish history. The article was later translated into over a dozen languages and published in newspapers around the world, including in The New York Times.
With his inventive literary acrobatics and his unwavering social pathos, Jonas Hassen Khemiri is constantly reinventing himself and what language can do – both on the page and in society at large.
Jonas Hassen Khemiri is a soon 37 year old writer who has released four and a half books and six plays. He lives south of Stockholm with his family. Easily recognized by his backpack, headphones and abnormally long legs.