Kiini Ibura Salaam is a writer, painter, and traveler from New Orleans, Louisiana. The middle child of five, she grew up in a hardscrabble neighborhood with oak and fig trees, locusts and mosquitoes, cousins and neighbors. Kiini's work delves into spheres of human liberation, human connection, and evolution. She employs speculative fiction, erotica, and creative nonfiction to take readers through mind-bending journeys into the transcendent, the sensual, the mystical, and the fantastic.
I recently finished Ancient, Ancient, Kiini Ibura Salaam’s award-winning short story collection. She was kind enough to take the time for a chat with me. Influence, writing teachers, and self-promotion–enjoy!
I first found out about Ancient, Ancient from an announcement posted by Cheryl Morgan who runs Wizard’s Tower Books. It looked interesting, and so I thought I would check it out. A little later, I heard that it was co-winner of the Tiptree Award, which is a prize given to books/stories/collections that explore gender in… »
Ancient, Ancient is a strong collection. I love how the stories in this collection explore themes of sexuality and gender as well as power dynamics and consent. In this interview, Kiini Ibura Salaam talks about the process of putting together a collection, the inspiration behind stories and what we can look forward to.
I’ve just received a signed copy of On the Struggle to Self-Promote from the author, and I can’t wait to read it. From the introduction: All of that to say, self-promoting has never come naturally to me. Overtime, I’ve morphed from someone who kept her work a secret into someone who reluctantly represented her work,… »
As for Salaam’s story, “The Taming,” I found the narrative choices and the design of the point of view intriguing. Of course, both of those things make it a more opaque, nontraditionally structured story. After all, the worldview of an animal is quite different from that of a human (or even alien, the way most… »
Ancient, Ancient wouldn’t let me stop reading. Not just because some of the stories were interconnected, but because they were so good that I kept wanting to guzzle down more of them. I tried to force myself to pace my reading, to take my time, to linger, but I was seized with an almost fugue… »
Salaam’s stories employ magic and time travel, spacecraft and prophecy to explore deeply human questions about motherhood, sex, identity, and inequality. Written in lush, precise prose and deeply rooted in feminine experience, they evoke feelings both hauntingly familiar and disorientingly alien. Though readers who are not frequent consumers of science fiction may find a few… »
Interviewaudio // home ownership // interview // travel // writing
Meet Kiini Ibura Salaam, Solutionista: artist mother world traveler speculative fiction writer homeowner Kiini shares her inspiring story, tosses us some pearls, and reads a story from her new collection, Ancient, Ancient.
In her introduction to Kiini Ibura Salaam’s debut collection, Ancient, Ancient, Nisi Shawl mentions her response to a question about the effect of the Afro-diaspora on genre literature: ‘‘Everything is going to get a lot sexier.’’ The very first story in this collection, ‘‘Desire’’, proves that right out of the gate. A delightful folkloric tale, it… »
Salaam’s fictional worlds range widely in scope, but they are bursting with exuberant, poetic life. Her protagonists seek satisfaction on multiple levels, whether they know it or not, and sensual fulfillment is inseparable from intellectual or emotional achievements.