Ibtisam Azem

Ibtisam Azem


ابتسام عازم

Ibtisam Azem is a Palestinian journalist and the author of two novels. She was born and raised in Taybat al-Mothalath, northern Jaffa. Her first novel, Sariq al-Nawm (The Sleep Thief) was published in 2011. Her second, Sifr al-Ikhtifaa (The Book of Disappearance), published in 2014, was translated into English by Sinan Antoon in 2019, into Italian by Barbara Teresi in 2021, and into German by Joël László in 2023. A Hebrew translation of the book is forthcoming. 
Azem started her undergraduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has since obtained two MAs. The first she completed at Freiburg University in Germany in English Literature and Islamic Studies, the second at the Silver School of Social Work, New York University. After working as producer and correspondent for Deutsche Welle TV-Arabic in Berlin and New York, she now lives in New York, where she is senior correspondent for the Arabic daily Al Araby Al Jadeed. She has also been co-editor at Jadaliyya e-zine and has published essays and short stories in Al-Akhbar, Qantara, and Al Jazeera.

Her Twitter account (in English): twitter.com

Her Instagram account: instagram.com

© Ephrem Kossaify
Date of birth : 1974
Country of birth: Palestine
Country of residence: USA
Contact: Ibtisam Azem

Selected bibliography

*Working title


The Book of Disappearance: An Interview with Ibtisam Azem, by University of Notre Dame, October 2020

What if Palestinians just disappeared?, by The Electronic Intifada, July 2020

‘The Book of Disappearance’: Ibtisam Azem’s dystopian Zionist fantasy, by Mondoweiss, July 2020

“The Lost and Disappeared Voice”: An Interview with Ibtisam Azem, by Strange Horizons, March-April 2020

Novelist Azem Imagines Israel without Palestinians, by Asia Times, February 2020

Ibtisam Azem on the ‘Power of the Silenced Story’, by Arablit, September 2019

Prizes and awards

  • The Book of Disappearance was chosen as the title for Librarians and Archivists with Palestine’s international reading campaign, “One Book, Many Communities”, in 2020

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Jessica Binks