• TIFF Bell Lightbox (map)
  • 350 King St W
  • Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3X5
  • Canada

Author Talk with Ibtisam Azem: The Book of Disappearance

September 18
Doors open at: 6:30 PM
The Lab

What if all the Palestinians simply disappeared one day?
What would happen next?
How would Israelis react?

TPFF is launching our 2019 festival with an author talk and book launch featuring highly acclaimed Palestinian novelist and journalist Ibtisam Azem. The talk will be moderated by Thea Lim, Giller Prize finalist for her novel 'An Ocean of Minutes'.

We will be celebrating the release of the new English translation of 'The Book of Disappearance' translated by Sinan Antoon. The novel is a fantasy genre story that imagines what would happen if Palestinians vanished.

Location: TIFF Bell Lightbox, The Lab (4th Floor)
Doors: 6:30pm
Free with registration - PLEASE NOTE: Seats are first come first serve because this is a free event.

Copies of 'The Book of Disappearance' can be purchased at a discounted price ($25.50 tax included) via eventbrite. Book purchase will also guarantee you a seat at the event! The author will be signing books after her talk.

Copresented with our friends Another Story Bookshop - one of the best bookstores in Toronto! They are also supplying the books for the event.

Ibtisam Azem is a Palestinian short story writer, novelist, and journalist, based in New York. She is a senior correspondent for the Arabic daily al-Araby al-Jadeed. She has published two novels in Arabic: The Sleep Thief and The Book of Disappearance. Some of her writings have been translated and published in French, German and English in several anthologies and journals. She is working on her third novel and pursuing an MA in Social Work from NYU’s Silver school.

Thea Lim is a Professor of Creative Writing in the Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Sheridan College). Her 2018 novel An Ocean of Minutes was nominated for the Giller Prize, released across the world and in multiple languages, and has been optioned for a TV series. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, and she has received multiple awards and fellowships for her work.

What if all the Palestinians in Israel simply disappeared one day? What would happen next? How would Israelis react? These unsettling questions are posed in Azem’s powerfully imaginative novel. Set in contemporary Tel Aviv forty eight hours after Israelis discover all their Palestinian neighbors have vanished, the story unfolds through alternating narrators, Alaa, a young Palestinian man who converses with his dead grandmother in the journal he left behind when he disappeared, and his Jewish neighbor, Ariel, a journalist struggling to understand the traumatic event. Through these perspectives, the novel stages a confrontation between two memories. Ariel is a liberal Zionist who is critical of the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but nevertheless believes in Israel’s project and its national myth. Alaa is haunted by his grandmother’s memories of being displaced from Jaffa and becoming a refugee in her homeland. Ariel’s search for clues to the secret of the collective disappearance and his reaction to it intimately reveal the fissures at the heart of the Palestinian question.