“I’ve been looking at [Keret’s] Substack and it’s so witty and enjoyable, and he’s clearly having a wonderful time doing it, I thought, ‘maybe I could do that’” — Salman Rushdie, The Guardian
On my last visit to New York, just before the pandemic, I told May-Zhee, my publicist at Riverhead and a friend, that my literary fantasy is to publish stories where stories are not supposed to be published. I shared my dream of printing stories on matchboxes, cleaning supplies, and bus stops, and I also disclosed a culinary fantasy: short stories hidden inside cookies, so that everyone who eats a cookie can have a sweet-and-sour story for dessert after—or during—their dessert. May-Zhee listened politely, and I couldn’t help suspecting that I was not the first author to dump a weird literary fantasy in her lap. I hoped, for her sake, that the other writers were sharing dreams of being astronauts, firefighters, or pirates, rather than a bizarrely specific vision like mine. Three days later, May-Zhee emailed to say she’d persuaded the Israeli manager of Breads Bakery in Manhattan, who is a fan of my writing, to make my dream come true. But America being America, the manager quickly clarified that putting a piece of paper in a cookie would present a choking hazard, and so my fantasy would have to undergo a slight renovation: instead of a story in a cookie, it would be a story wrapping a cake. As soon as I’d emailed my thanks to May-Zhee and the bakery manager, I sat down to write the story. It was the first cake-wrapping-story I’d ever written. I hope it came out delicious.
The video dance "Outside" was created by Choreographer Inbal Pinto and Etgar Keret during the initial Covid-19 related lockdowns around the world, and was remotely performed by Moran Muller in Israel, and Mirai Moriyama in Japan. When lockdown regulations gradually eased, the only way to allow public screenings was by video projections on outside walls in Israel, Japan, USA and Germany, which went well with the post-lockdown awkwardness the work was dealing with.