Hi! I'm Naseem—queer, nonbinary trans, Persian, Chicagoan, writer, neuroscientist, baker, nerd, gamer.
Born to Iranian immigrants, I was raised in the North Side of Chicago. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Rumpus, The Writer's Chronicle, and other venues. I was the 2018 Bitch Media Fellow in Technology, a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction, and a 2022 Otherwise Fellow, and was named the inaugural Samuel R. Delany Fellow, a 2023 Judith A. Markowitz Award winner, and a 2023 Astounding Award finalist. My debut novella, The Bruising of Qilwa, was released by Tachyon Publications in 2022 to critical praise and was a finalist for both the Crawford Award and Locus Award. My debut middle grade horror, Sleepaway, releases from Aladdin in 2025.
I did my undergraduate in the biological sciences and creative writing at the University of Chicago and my biology master's at DePaul University. Until January 2017, I balanced my writing with my work as a neuroscientist, where I studied rodent models of both concussions and psychiatric disabilities. I left my neuroscience PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania after the 2016 US presidential election to pursue my lifelong love of writing full time.
I currently live outside Reno, Nevada (unceded territory belonging to the Numu, Wašiw, Newe, and Nuwu peoples), where I graduated from the MFA program in fiction at the University of Nevada, Reno, and received a graduate certificate in Gender, Race, and Identity. I write speculative fiction, primarily fantasy and horror, across all ages (adult and kidlit (MG/YA) both). I also write both creative and journalistic nonfiction; for the latter, I focus mainly on science and science literary, academia, social justice, and public health. I'm represented by Erica Bauman at Aevitas Creative Management at Aevitas Creative Management.
Last but not least, I'm also an editor!
- I'm the managing editor and book designer at Sword & Kettle Press, a tiny press of feminist speculative writing. We've run successful Kickstarters for the Cup & Dagger Mini Speculative Chapbook series and the Hansel and Gretel chapbook Bewildered, and have recently launched our New Cosmologies Mini Chapbook Series. We host the magazine Corvid Queen for feminist fairytales in addition to our handmade books.
- I used to be (but am no longer) the managing editor at Sidequest, an independent gaming criticism website which publishes writers of marginalized genders that grew out of the. gaming vertical at WWAC. (One of the coolest (and funniest) things to have happened to me is that my Mystic Messenger Trash series on Sidequest is officially linked on the Mystic Messenger Wikipedia page.)
My favorite games are JRPGs, I love cooking and baking, and I am always hankering for my next tattoo.