I am a writer living in Kitchener, Ontario, with my husband and two daughters. 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. At the moment, I am working on a book-length memoir. My official bio follows.

TASNEEM JAMAL was born in Mbarara, Uganda, and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1975. Her debut novel Where the Air Is Sweet was published to critical acclaim in 2014. Her writing has appeared in Chatelaine, Saturday Night magazine, and the Literary Review of Canada. She worked as a news editor at The Globe and Mail and before that as a copy editor at Saturday Night magazine. A consulting editor with The New Quarterlyshe is currently writing a memoir.



“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.


Where the Air Is Sweet is available in Italian translation. Dove l’aria è più dolce was published in May 2017 by Nuova Editrice Berti and was translated into Italian by Francesca Cosi and Alessandra Repossi. Follow this link to buy.


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

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

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