• The Bruising of Qilwa

    Several copies of the cover of The Bruising of Qilwa as a book, ebook, and audio. A golden hand drips blood on the title. A city rises on a hill, an island in the middle of a sea with boats. Vines creep along the sides. The colors are red, gold, cream, and purple.

    Available now in paperback and ebook in World English territories and on audio from Tantor Audio, narrated by Fajer Al-Kaisi

    The Qilwa city from the book cover, which is red, gold, and cream.

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  • Praise

    The Bruising of Qilwa is a standalone novella introducing the queernormative Persian-inspired world of Sassan.

    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.

    Library Journal


    Naseem Jamnia's brilliant and insightful novella explores questions of identity and belonging in a nuanced medical mystery. The questions Jamnia raises about blood family and chosen family, identity and self-expression, gender and immigration and bigotry are ones as applicable to this world as to the incredibly imagined one that unfolds across the pages of The Bruising of Qilwa.

    Shelf Awareness


    I loved this gorgeous book about blood magic, chosen family, and refugees in a hostile city. The Bruising of Qilwa left me wanting way more of this world and its magical systems—but above all, I wanted to spend way more time with these amazing characters. You should definitely savor this one.

    Charlie Jane Anders

    All The Birds in the Sky

    The Unstoppable Trilogy

    I adored this city, with its vibrant history and super-fresh magic system, but I loved these astonishing complex vivid characters even more. A fun and fast-paced ride that keeps you guessing all the way (and, yeah, it’s tough to grapple with the ugly legacies of empire and oppression and still have fun, but Jamnia pulls it off).

    Sam J. Miller

    Blackfish City

    Birds, Beasts, and Men

    A fascinating medical mystery in a rich, complex world I didn’t want to leave.

    Shannon Chakraborty

    The Daevabad Trilogy

    The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

    With prose that reads like lush poetry, The Bruising of Qilwa builds an intricate world full of history, magic, and life.

    Zabé (Z.R.) Ellor

    Silk Fire

    The Bruising of Qilwa transports you to a lushly-described, beautifully imagined world where magic and medicine meet. Heartfelt relationships temper the grim reality of a flawed world with a creeping, strange new disease. A delightful read.

    Neon Yang

    The Tensorate Series

    The Genesis of Misery

    Naseem Jamnia is one of the most talented speculative authors of our generation and Qilwa is just a brief introduction of Jamnia’s talent. The story and characters are exquisite. I can’t wait for more stories from this world.

    Terry J. Benton-Walker

    Blood Debts

    Alex Wise vs. The End of the World

    Naseem Jamnia is a bold, visionary writer, and The Bruising of Qilwa makes for a superb introduction to their nuanced and evocative Persian-inspired fantasy. The good news is that there are many more brilliant novels already in this writer’s literary quiver. Get ready for them; they’re coming! Jamnia is fierce and dangerous—in all the best ways.

    David Anthony Durham

    The Acacia Trilogy

    Pride of Carthage

    Naseem Jamnia has crafted an intricately layered fantasy [and] a wonderful, noble character who is driven to act for the greater good and is willing to grapple with issues of colonization, including those of their homeland. The world of Qilwa is rich and intriguing The Bruising of Qilwa is a deeply fascinating fantasy that reckons with very real geopolitical issues Highly recommended.

    Susan Azim Boyer

    Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win

    An incredible and lush world featuring a non-binary refugee, blood magic, and a plague that seeps within a city. Naseem Jamnia weaves an exquisite tale within a short span of pages. From protecting found and blood family, to mystery, to trauma and colonization, this Persian-inspired fantasy is a must-read. The afterword perfectly wraps up the story.

    Melissa Karibian

    A Song of Silver and Gold

    An incredibly timely story, told by a deft hand that manages to weave a fascinating magic system together with all-too-real issues into something truly, wonderfully, not seen before. Equal parts slice of life, fantasy tale, medical drama and mystery blend into a book not soon to be forgotten, one that should be on everyone’s TBR!

    Alice Scott

    Senior Barnes & Noble Bookseller

    When people from marginalized groups talk about creating stories based on their lived experience, this is what they mean. Jamnia brings all the various intersections of their life into The Bruising of Qilwa and the book is so much more significant because of it. This story has set the bar for fantasy fiction so high now. Who’s going to meet it?


    [A] short, propulsive tale that admirably centers a strong queer protagonist and offers thought-provoking commentary on the struggles of refugees. There’s plenty to enjoy for readers of LGBTQ fantasy.

    Publisher's Weekly

    Jamnia’s debut is a rousing, Persian-inspired fantasy that investigates otherness, oppression, and generational trauma but is powered forward by a suspenseful, bloody, medical-mystery plot. Readers of queer fantasy will fall hard for the rich characters, particularly our aromantic, asexual, nonbinary protagonist. The frank narrative tone and short page count paired with an intricately built world is a winning combination.


    Influenced by Persian culture, The Bruising of Qilwa is a stunning fantasy novella that confronts questions of belonging: to a culture, a family, and to yourself. The worldbuilding is immersive, with gripping descriptions of the sights and sounds of Qilwa jumping from the page. But the fantasy setting is not so impenetrable as to obscure the novel’s real-world themes. Cracking the door to a fresh fantasy world, The Bruising of Qilwa makes an unforgettable first impression.

    Foreword Reviews

    The Bruising of Qilwa manages to marry an interesting medical mystery plot with the feeling of a slice of life view into moving through a fantasy world as a refugee, giving us realistic-feeling politics, sympathetic characters (who have very sympathetic disputes, where both sides have a genuine point) and above all, a protagonist who, run ragged as they are, is striving extremely hard to do good in a world that is making their life as difficult as it can be. It's a fantastic book, and I'd be extremely keen to read more from Naseem Jamnia, whether written in this world or something new.

    Roseanna Pendelbury, nerds of a feather, flock together

    Like many of the best novellas we’ve been seeing these last few years, The Bruising of Qilwa is something of a Tardis tale, considerably bigger on the inside than it first appears, and it’s a rewarding addition to that growing body of fantastic fiction address­ing themes of colonialism, bigotry, gender, and cultural identity. The world of the book is one we’d like to know more about, and Jamnia is a writer worth paying attention to.

    Gary K. Wolfe, Locus Magazine

    In the novel’s setting, Jamnia creates a rich landscape of overlapping ethnicities and languages, laying a foundation for a world-building which proceeds very much out of Iranian culture. This richness informs the book’s vocabulary. These are used casually and without explication, making them a seamless part of the cultural background. Jamnia’s prose makes their world feel more like a—to this reader previously unknown—corner of the real world, with occasional magical details to remind that it is indeed fantasy.

    Stephen Case, Strange Horizons

    Naseem Jamnia’s debut novella is a reminder of what you can truly do with the fantasy genre. There is a depth and richness to their world, characters, and magic. Beautiful and bittersweet, The Bruising of Qilwa is a story of immigration and borders, of identity and culture, of blood and oppression and family—written with an expert flourish of prose and eye for detail. The Bruising of Qilwa is a masterful debut, one that marks the continued ascendancy of Jamnia’s literary star.

    Martin Cahill, Tor.com

    The cover copy is deceptively simple. It makes The Bruising of Qilwa sound like an interesting yet recognizable second-world fantasy story. But there’s nothing simple about this novella. Naseem Jamnia has threaded themself–their identities, their experiences, their histories, their culture–into every layer of the narrative. Books like this are why I read almost exclusively science fiction, fantasy, and horror by authors with marginalized identities. I love seeing how we can take the familiar and reshape it into something wholly new just by imbuing it with our unique perspectives. The future of fantasy fiction is in our hands.

    Alex Brown, Locus Magazine

  • The cover of The Bruising of Qilwa. A golden hand drips blood on the title. A city rises on a hill, an island in the middle of a sea with boats. Vines creep along the sides. The colors are red, gold, cream, and purple.

    In this intricately layered debut fantasy introducing a queernormative Persian-inspired world, a nonbinary refugee practitioner of blood magic discovers a strange disease causing political rifts in their new homeland. Persian-American author Naseem Jamnia has crafted a gripping narrative with a moving, nuanced exploration of immigration, gender, healing, and family.


    Firuz-e Jafari is fortunate enough to have immigrated to the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, fleeing the slaughter of other Sassanian blood magic practitioners in their homeland. Despite the status of refugees in their new home, Firuz has a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa, working with Kofi, a kindly new employer, and mentoring Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee with powerful magic.


    But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly performed blood magic. In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.


    Powerful and fascinating, The Bruising of Qilwa is the newest arrival in the era of fantasy classics such as the Broken Earth Trilogy, The Four Profound Weaves, and Who Fears Death.

  • An image of the preorder incentive pin. A purple flask has fire coming out the top, and two hands circling each other with blood droplets in the middle. Around the flask says "Magic is a working of the will." The colors are red, gold, cream, and purple.

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  • Content Notes and Representation

    I believe it's important to be both upfront and specific about both of these things, so here is what you can expect from The Bruising of Qilwa. Some of these draw upon my own experiences.