NOMI Has New Homes

On the last day of Feb 2021, I'm wistful for Feb 2020, when I was in Karachi launching The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali. But I also have wonderful news. 

Nomi will be released in the US and UK, thanks to the brilliant Deep Vellum Publishing. I'm so excited and honored to work with them, and to have multiple homes for this child which, as some of you know, took me 26 + years to create. Stay tuned for updates!

Meanwhile, enjoy some pics from last year: 

Launch at T2F 


Launch at Adab Festival 




Sketch by reader and illustrator Yash Daiv of Nomi and the starfish jail. He captured her spirit--a sky baby in lockdown on earth who belongs with the birds. 


Desi Delicacies: Food Writing From Muslim South Asia/Virtual Launch this Saturday

First post in 2021 belongs to food! Thrilled to have a story, "The Origin of Sweetness," in this delicious anthology of fiction and essays. Each work, including mine, includes a recipe. 


Please join the virtual launch this Saturday. We'll meet around a communal table at a time when the pleasure is denied us, making the book and its launch feel both celebratory and urgent. Royalty payments go to food charities in South Asia. So please support this anthology if you can. 

Launch Details

Date and Time: Saturday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. Indian Standard Time/ 6:30 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time/ 8:30 a.m. US EST.

Log onto @gangajamuniheritage on Facebook and Youtube https://youtube.com/c/GangaJamuniHeritage 



The cover, a detail from the Nimatnama, a book of recipes from the 15th century, is by super talented Bhavi Mehta. Bhavi also did the stunning cover of my novel The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali

Till we meet Saturday, here's an image of a Simurgh on my coaster with some barfi I'd been saving for a house warming party that never happened, because of the lockdown. The bird appears in my story "The Origin of Sweetness" to the daughter of a confectioner who specializes in barfi. I chose to write on a dessert even though I don't have much of a sweet tooth. But I can't resist barfi and neither should you. As you can see, my Simurgh is pleased. 




The Age of Screenshots; A Story About the Pandemic, Lockdowns, and More

The past month's been busy with readings and launches. Here are some screenshots taken by participants and organizers while I talk, oblivious to how unbecomingly the camera is watching me. 

1. Saturday, November 7th. A conversation with Tamreez Inam, curator of IG's @readingpakistan, about my third novel The Geometry of God. Tamreez has the rare gift of being a gracious, welcoming hostess AND asking thoughtful, book-centered questions AND being as wonderful in writing (head on over to her page to read the review), all while championing so many other books. AND making it look easy! 

Bonus: the results of the US presidential election were announced during the convo. Yep, he's fired. 




2. Friday, October 23rd. It was my first time at the Islamabad Literature Festival, where I was thrilled to launch my fifth and newest novel The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali at a session titled "Every Detail Is Story" (from a chapter in the book). In case you missed it live, here's the recording (ignore the slight sound glitch at the start; it picks up):  https://www.facebook.com/OxfordUniversityPressPak/videos/291016728556505




3. Thursday, October 15th. The launch of AGNI 92 was a special evening, as I haven't read from a short story before. Novels, yes. They're my first love. Short stories I've come to later in life. I've had to get over feeling like I'm cheating on my lover, by also coming to love the short form. This story, though fiction, draws from my life. I'd been trying to write it for years. Someone asked me if finally putting it down was liberating. No. It was necessary. Like life and death necessary. 

The story, called "Now Pray: Notes on a Separation," set during the lockdown, is also about a family in lockdown from long before the pandemic. The questions asked at the launch were terrific, thanks to AGNI prose editors, Julia Brown and Jennifer Alise Drew. Watch it here:  https://youtu.be/-3RD0qquqiA

"Now Pray: Notes on a Separation" featured recently in an article in Dawn by Claire Chambers about four women writers of color--myself, Zadie Smith, Arundhati Roy, and Elif Shafak--writing at least partly about the pandemic and the violence of our time. Chambers writers, "Out of the four pieces ("Now Pray: Notes ... ") is the richest and most multidirectional discussion of the pandemic, lockdowns and reopen protestors ... This devastating, lyrical piece reflects on the many forms of lockdown that immigrants have experienced for years, and how this year's shelter-in-place orders further complicate that. The narrator uses the second person to write to her elder sister who ... underwent a mental health crisis that never lifted ... This is the finest writing on mental illness I've read for ages." I'm so honored for this mention.

You can read my story in AGNI 92


The Geometry of God--Book Discussion on 11/7/2020



Excited for this discussion with @readingpakistan, who selected The Geometry of God  as the book club read for October. 

Meeting ID: 846 9333 0491 
Passcode: 063259
Zoom link:

A page from the book:




Kirkus Reviews’ Best Book of 2009


Finalist in Foreword magazine’s Best Books of 2009 

Winner, Bronze Award, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2010 

One of "Ten Incredible Books by Muslim Women Writers" -- Nylon 

  

‘Uzma Aslam Khan, a fearless young Pakistani novelist, writes about what lies beneath the surface—ancient fossils embedded in desert hillsides, truths hidden inside the language of everyday life. Khan’s urgent defense of free thought and action—often galvanized by strong-minded, sensuous women—courses through every page of this gorgeously complex book; but what really draws the reader in is the way Mehwish taste-tests the words she hears, as if they were pieces of fruit, and probes the meaning of human connection in a culture of intolerance, but also of stubborn hope.’-- Cathleen Medwick, Oprah 


'The characters, the poetry and the philosophical questions she raises are rendered with power and beauty that make this novel linger in the mind and heart.' -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

‘Uzma Aslam Khan comes from a generation of Pakistani authors born and raised in the disrupted decades of the 1980s and 90s... As in her previous work, Aslam Khan deploys several narrators, both male and female… Yet, it is above all, the two female perspectives which make the novel worth reading. Amal offers insights into modern Pakistan, but it is the abstract perspectives offered by her sister, Mehwish, a character who sees the world with her inner eye, tastes its truths and tells them "slant", that are the most original and captivating. We become attuned to her quietly anarchic voice.’-- Times Literary Supplement


‘The Geometry of God becomes that rare creature, a novel where the urgency of the message is matched by the verve of the narrative…the author's intelligence, imprinted on every page like a watermark, blooms into full colour when delving into Mehwish's strange and lovely inner world…The book may be (and probably will be) read by many as a primer to the growth of fundamentalism in the region; to my mind, however, that is the least of what this gorgeous, complex stunner of a novel offers.’ -- Niranjana Iyer, Eclectica

 

'Throughout this complex narrative, Ms. Khan writes with unfailing intelligence and linguistic magic.' -- Claire Hopley, Washington Times

 

'Khan's creative and exuberant use of language delights and puzzles us, and makes us think from start to finish ... Reading The Geometry of God is akin to being immersed in the sea of Khan's language. She demands total immersion and what we get from her depends on our own ability to appreciate the experience.' -- Tara Menon, Calyx 


'Beautifully written, funny and full of tension, The Geometry of God ... with its playful language and vivid characters, will give you what you expect from a novel: a great read.' -- Metro √Čireann

 

'Uzma Aslam Khan has boldly tapped uncharted themes in her latest book, The Geometry of God. It seemed for some time that Pakistani English literature had blurred into a chorus of post-9/11 repression … but Khan undoubtedly breaks the mould. She carves a sublime story of new and old with contemporary panache, in which people are real and their fears are prevalent and believable. Khan weaves a complex story whose narrative has a casual energy to it: each voice telling his or her story. Khan is not afraid to say anything.' -- Dawn 

 

‘Khan writes simply and with feeling, the language perfectly matching the personality of each character. It was a pleasure to read this profound, yet straightforward book.’ -- Jang Weekly 


'An unconventionally structured novel ... also fascinating in its use of language and drawings sketched as if by a child, in the midst of a mosaic of narrative from different points of view. Hilarious and moving.' -- The Hindu


'(A) novel about transformations ... in a prose at times eccentric and whimsical but always precise and poetic ... The geometry of God is an apt metaphor, not merely for the blending of science and faith that animates the central conflict but also for the loving spatiotemporal handling of the Pakistani landscape--from the inner courtyards and crowded cities to the Salt Range of the Punjab, as well as the reduction of all this expanse into the eccentric and mystical "boxes" that the blind Mehwish makes for each person she encounters.' -- World Literature Today


3rd Asian Literature Festival, Gwangju, South Korea

How cool are these flags! Instead of nations, they celebrate writers: 




The 3rd Asian Literature Festival, Gwangju, South Korea, is themed "100 years of Asian Literature: Women and Myth." I'll be reading from an essay I wrote for the festival on racism and violence, and also read from my novel The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali. Session details: 

Date and Time: Thursday, October 29th at 9:00-11:30 p.m. US EDT/ Friday, October 30th at 10:00a.m.-12:30 p.m. KST (Korean time). 

Zoom linkhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/81429359421

ID: 814 2935 9421

Password: 127324

Every Detail Is Story: The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali at Islamabad Literature Festival 2020

 Excited for the virtual Islamabad Literature Festival! I'll read from The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali and be in conversation with Munazza Yaqoob and Sonia Irum, both of whom know my work intimately--so lucky to have them. (I was also in convo two years ago with Sonia about Thinner Than Skin  http://uzmaaslamkhan.blogspot.com/2018/05/thinner-than-skin-full-listing-of-uk.html)

Date: Friday, 23rd October 2020 

Time: 6:15-7:15 p.m. PKT (Pakistan time); 9:15-10:15 a.m. US EDT (US eastern).  

Watch it on Facebook: bit.ly/3fIbvI4

Watch it on Youtube: bit.ly/3fyXf4n

Watch it on Twitter: bit.ly/32scZm4

Watch it on LinkedIn: bit.ly/3k4WMJf

For more details, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/3356395211076679/  




Launch of AGNI 92: "Now Pray: Notes on a Separation"

Friends, mark your calendars for AGNI magazine's launch of issue #92. I'll be reading from new work, a short story titled "Now Pray: Notes on a Separation" on Thursday, October 15th at 6:30 p.m. (EDT)   

The event is remote and free. But you need to register, with one click: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-launch-of-agni-92-fiction-nonfiction-from-the-fall-issue-registration-123382836385

Myself and another writer will be in conversation with AGNI's two prose editors, followed by questions from you, the audience. 



This will be the first of three launch nights. For a complete listing, see: https://agnionline.bu.edu/blog/agni-hosts-three-fall-2020-launch-nights

I've long admired this magazine, now in its 48th year, and am thrilled that my work has found shelter in its rich and loving legacy. To continue supporting writers and artists, AGNI needs to be supported. So do consider subscribing, renewing, or becoming an AGNI friend: https://agnionline.bu.edu/subscribe?utm_source=200+in+20+Appeal+8&utm_campaign=200in20&utm_medium=email 

Thank you, and hope to see you on the 15th!

NOMI Has New Homes