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Zohar Elmakias

Zohar Elmakias was born in 1987 in Ramle, Israel. A writer, outstanding scholar, translator, and essayist, Zohar Elmakias has received her PhD in anthropology from Columbia University in 2024. Her research explores spatial transformations, geographies of violence, and the political imaginary in Israel/Palestine across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Across the years she has won numerous grants and awards, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Harry Hershon Literary Prize, a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from Mellon/ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies).

Starting in the fall of 2024, Elmakias will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Polonsky Academy in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. In spring 2025 will be a fellow at Columbia University's Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, where she will be working on a book project titled "Minefield, Temple."

She has written reviews, essays and articles for publications stretching across the Hebrew media spectrum; she directed "Duties of the Heart", a visual portrait of a young Mizrahi poet, which was subsequently screened on television and at several festivals. She has served twice as a judge in the committee of the Sapir Prize, Israel's most prestigious literary award, and she has also been the co-founder and co-editor of experimental literary magazine Gufa for the past four years. In 2023, her short story "Eclipse" was published by Akashic Books in the anthology "West Jerusalem Noir".

Elmakias has translated works by Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin, Saidyia Hartman, and Jamaica Kincaid into Hebrew. Her choices align with the central axis running through her work: to reveal the voice of Black and Mizrahi art to Israel. Terminal, her first book, was hailed as "theprogenitor of a new style in the [Israeli] literary canon."

Title: Terminal


Publisher: Hakibbutz Hameuchad

Year: 2020

83 pp.


Translation rights: World

Audio visual rights: World

The airport. A living, breathing portal to other worlds and other places, urging those who pass through it into some form of change, physical and emotional. “The soul goes through another transformation, taking off shoes and belt and jacket, in return for a pass into another world. The soul is flying, along paths predetermined from the start; then it experiences an end, another end, toward the next stage and being reborn.”


But the terminal is just a part of the whole. Time, bodies, languages, places: all are intertwined in the terminal that marks the beginning of a young woman’s life journey. The present, with its hopes and disappointments, is under scrutiny, along with a still-vivid family past of migration and pain. Together, the past and the present chart out possibilities for the future.


The future is embodied already: in construction sites, on buses, at the beach, on the train, and all the while in the unceasing change of the landscape—the physical landscape, and the landscape of the soul. From all this emerges a platform, for experiencing and exploring and thinking about the human body, about intimacy—and about violence.


Critical praise


Elmakias’ first novel demonstrates an impressive sensitivity to language.



The evocative language at work in this book is its strength, and underscores its uniqueness.

Makor Rishon

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