The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali

Uzma Aslam Khan

Winner of the Karachi Literature Festival-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize 2021
Winner of the 9th UBL Literary Award English Language Fiction category 2020
Shortlisted for the Karachi Literature Festival-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize 2020
Shortlisted for the TATA Literature Live! Best Book of the Year Award for Fiction 2019

Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali

‘The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali brilliantly excavates a forgotten past of several societies and honors its human complexity with a narrative of delicate precision. As affecting as it is intellectually powerful, the novel is a master lesson in the art of historical fiction.’ Pankaj Mishra

‘A glorious novel about a forgotten place and a part of our history that we hardly ever talk about.’ Mohammed Hanif

Set in the Andaman Islands (used by the British and later the Japanese as a prison – particularly for political prisoners), and based on fact. This is the story of Nomi, her family and friends as they go through changes brought about by international politics, one oppressive regime replacing another as the Andamans change hands during WW2. Tackling the issues of freedom, detention, resistance… you could call the Andaman Islands the British Guantanamo. In her usual stunning prose, Uzma presents us with characters facing constant challenges, their humanity, mankind’s cruelty, finding unlikely love, warmth amongst betrayal, oppression and horror. It’s a gripping tale, all the more powerful for being based in truth. She shows us the strength of women (and some men), racial abuse but also cross-cultural, inter-racial understanding. And all this against a backdrop of paradise-like islands.

‘In the novel, the lives of these characters intersect and their destinies get intertwined. Khan is adept at creating worlds that are at once magical and terrifying. She creates a universe out of a footnote of history. Her writing is crystal, vivid.’ Indian Express

‘A richly imagined universe…The characters are vividly drawn, and their voices ring true …Khan’s prose slows the reader down to retrace and savour words … If we are to strive for a more just world, we need to hear the stories.’ The Hindu

‘Part of the beauty of Khan’s writing stems from the fact that she does not need to actively portray racism, she makes virtually all her characters live it … Khan writes with quietly restrained but powerful passion.’ The Dawn, Pakistan

‘Though the stories are based on true life incidents and characters, it is a work of fiction — fiction that will move you immensely. A consummate storyteller, Uzma keeps the readers engrossed till the end. Even as you grapple with the questions: where is humanity in such times and what is the definition of ethics and morals when survival is the moot point — it is one story that you should not miss.’ The Tribune

‘A perfect work of historical fiction is one that is as compelling as it is enlightening. Uzma Aslam Khan’s new novelThe Miraculous True History of Nomi Aliis just that — a perfect balance of history and the imagination.’ The Hindu Business Line


  • Context/Westlands India, English language rights for India
  • Elan Vital, English language rights for Pakistan
  • Ordfront Forlag Sweden
  • Deep Vellum USA (publication April 2022)
  • Deep Vellum UK (publication April 2022)

Material: finished copies of Indian edition (370pp)