Naseem Jamnia’s debut novella THE BRUISING OF QILWA is brilliant and insightful

The forthcoming THE BRUISING OF QILWA by Samuel R. Delany Fellowship recipient Naseem Jamnia impressed Marlene Harris in Library Journal (*STARRED* review), Kerry McHugh at Shelf Awareness, and Rachel Brittian of Book Riot.

Cover for THE BRUISING OF QILWA by Naseem Jamnia
Cover by Elizabeth Story

The delicately interwoven complexity of the story, along with the loving portrait of Firuz and their found family, makes Jamnia’s fantasy puzzler a delight to read. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Katherine Addison’s The Witness for the Dead.

The Library Journal (*STARRED* review)

Naseem Jamnia’s brilliant and insightful novella, THE BRUISING OF QILWA, explores questions of identity and belonging in a nuanced medical mystery.

Shelf Awareness

Though THE BRUISING OF QILWA is a standalone novella, it is only the first introduction to a larger queernormative, Persian-inspired world Jamnia has stated they hope to explore more of. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Naseem as an editor before, and I’m so thrilled to see their incredible writing being published for others to enjoy.

Book Riot “The Best New Queer SFF for Your TBR”
Naseem Jamnia Headshot by Jeramie Lu
Photo by Jeramie Lu

The Fantasy Hive interviewed Jamnia.

Welcome to the Hive, Naseem. Let’s start with the basics: tell us about your upcoming debut novella The Bruising of Qilwa – why should readers check it out?

Thanks so much for having me!! The Bruising of Qilwa is a standalone novella introducing my queernormative, Persian-inspired secondary world, and follows Firuz-e Jafari, a nonbinary refugee healer who gets a job at a free clinic in their new home—while hiding their affinity for blood magic, which is dangerous but also misunderstood and stigmatized. The city-state of Qilwa is hit not only with a migrant crisis but also a plague (which the migrants are being blamed for), and Firuz also discovers a disease that seems to be the result of the misuse of blood magic. If Firuz doesn’t figure out what’s going on, both the migrants and the rest of the city will suffer—but they have to do so while battling medical racism and raising both their younger brother and a precocious blood magic user they find on the streets. If you like found family, grumpy caregivers adopting powerful orphans, an all queer and BIPOC cast with nonbinary trans and binary trans mains, scientific magic systems, complicated discussions of colonialism and empire, and quieter slice-of-life stories, then I think you’ll like Qilwa! (Full list of representation and content notes is on my website.)

And for a bit of fun, if you had to describe it in five words?

Queer, Persian, traumatized, bloody, tender 🙂 Up to y’all to put those things together, haha!