I am a writer living in Kitchener, Ontario. My debut novel, Where the Air Is Sweet, published by HarperCollins Canada, is available wherever books are sold in Canada. I am represented by The Cooke Agency. Where the Air Is Sweet took me about one year of (almost) full-time writing to complete (in 2009 my husband and I quit our secure and well-paying jobs as Globe and Mail editors, dragged our wee babies — 3-year-old and 9-month-old — to live in Tanzania in 2009 to pursue our respective dream careers, his as a pilot and mine as a novelist), but it gestated for about a decade. For contact information please click here. My official bio follows.

TASNEEM JAMAL was born in Mbarara, Uganda, and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1975. She has worked as a journalist for over a decade at a number of Canadian newspapers, including The Globe and Mail and National Post. In 2014, her debut novel, Where the Air Is Sweet, was published to critical acclaim. That same year, the CBC named Tasneem one of 12 rising CanLit stars on its annual list of Writers to Watch.



“A perfect summer read that could tempt even the most stalwart non-fiction devotee back into novel territory.”- Toronto Star

“Beautifully written and deeply emotional.”-National Post

“Engrossing, shocking, beautiful” and “important.”-The Globe and Mail

“Sensitive, compelling, authentic and just plain excellent.”-Waterloo Region Record

More reviews


CBC Books names Tasneem Jamal one of 12 rising CanLit stars on its annual list of Writers to Watch.

Toronto Star: Q&A on Canada’s welcome to Uganda’s Ismailis.

TVO The Agenda: Tasneem Jamal sits down with Piya Chattopadhyay for a feature interview about how her personal story helped form her novel.

The Globe and MailA man whose life had been disrupted the most gained freedom by letting go.

More press


In 1972, dictator Idi Amin expelled 80,000 South Asians from Uganda. Though many had lived in East Africa for generations, they were forced to flee in 90 days as their country descended into a surreal vortex of chaos and murder.


The central characters in Where the Air Is Sweet are Ismaili Muslims. Follow this link to read some questions and answers about this relatively unknown community.


The novel is available wherever books are sold in Canada.
Please click on the BUY NOW link to take you to your preferred bookseller.

Publicity and representation inquiries

  • Paperback
  • 366 pages
  • Paperback and e-book
  • 366 pages
  • Paperback and e-book
  • 366 pages
  • e-book
  • 366 pages
  • “Engrossing, shocking, beautiful” and “important.”

    The Globe and Mail
  • “A perfect summer read that could tempt even the most stalwart non-fiction devotee back into novel territory.”

    Toronto Star
  • “Beautifully written and deeply emotional…an eloquent work of historical fiction.”

    National Post
  • “Jamal has woven a large cast of characters spanning three generations and three continents into an engrossing tale of race, gender and family relations with a sophisticated eye to their cultural origins, and an appreciation for life in Canada, ‘where the air is sweet.'”

    Winnipeg Free Press
  • “Enthralling, moving and beautifully written, Tasneem Jamal’s remarkable debut reveals the joys, heartaches, and fragilities of human connection, the relationships people forge with a land, the promises they make to each other. With her graceful, confident prose, Jamal creates a world so real it pulsates with vitality and tenderness. Her characters straddle the permeable, ever-shifting line between homes, between overlapping identities, between longing and belonging, desire and hope.”

    Ayelet Tsabari, author of THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH, winner of the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize
  • “Beautifully written and brimming with intelligence. A wonderful debut.”

    —Katrina Onstad, author of the Giller Prize nominee Everybody Has Everything
  • “Big of heart and mind, Tasneem Jamal’s powerful debut novel exposes the fragility of belonging and, with its sweeping historical eye, brings home the true meaning of Canada.”

    CARRIE SNYDER, author of Governor General’s Award–nominated The Juliet Stories

Get in touch with Tasneem

For book club or media requests, please get in touch with Tasneem below.


Yay! Message sent.
Error! Please validate your fields.
© Copyright Tasneem Jamal