Meet Israeli Author, Yael Hedaya

by the themes in Housebroken, and the fact that while this is the
first of Hedaya’s works to be translated into English, her works have already
been translated into Dutch, German, French and Italian, we decided to interview
the author.

Housebroken is a compilation
of three novellas which deal with issues that couples confront when trying
to create and maintain relationships.

Rather than plan a plot and then compose
it into a story, Hedaya sits down and lets her ideas flow freely. From there
her stories emerge. “Writers usually surprise themselves in what comes out,”
says Hedaya. “The subconscious is revealed. It is natural to write about
sex, love, envy, hate, children, money, fears and ego. Political things affect
us but they are not the drive. Writing and art come from a more general deeper
place; they are almost infantile instincts,” says Hedaya.

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When Hedaya wrote Housebroken,
which was published in Hebrew in 1997, she was exploring relationships. She
believes that “politics, love, relationships, and existential melancholy writing
is an expression of where Israeli society is today. We are into our own ‘Seinfeld’
lives. The `situation’ (political) is so integrated into our lives that it
is a political comment not to write about politics. There can be a bombing,
but it is the topic of the day. It is not a choice to write about men and
women; it is not pre-meditated, the stories are born in me.”

According to Hedaya, “Writers and
artists should promote causes, but art should not be enlisted to present
the burning agenda of the day above the artistic impulse.”

There is a time and place for everything,
and Hedaya, a single mother of girl and boy 18-month-old twins knows that
well. She manages to write, teach journalism at Emeq Israel College, lead
creative writing workshops at the Open University, and scout new literature
on behalf of the Am Oved Publishing Company.

Writing has always been an important
means of expression for Hedaya: as a child, she corresponded with pen pals
and even wrote letters to her parents although they lived together in the
same house. Later, as a teenager, she wrote morbid poems. Hedaya lived in
New York for three years. During that time she earned an M.A. degree in
creative writing from the Dept. of English Literature at New York University
where she studied under the writers, E.L. Doctorow and Peter Carey. She returned
to Israel in 1991 and published her first novel Dramatis Persona three
years later.

Born in Jerusalem in 1964, Hedaya
is the daughter of an American mother and an Israeli father. Although the
family spoke English at home, Hedaya writes in Hebrew.

Tenuot, Hedaya’s newest novel
was released in June 2001 (not yet translated). Of future works she says:
“Today reality is changing and I have no idea of what is going to happen
when I write my next book.”

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