Review: When the World Wounds


I confess to a love of short stories. I am obsessed with delicious bites of fiction ranging from petite short short stories to longer works that brush the edges of novella. It is my favorite form of fiction to read and to write.

In October I had the good fortune to meet Kiini Ibura Salaam at a writer’s conference. She gave a wonderful keynote address and I was able to spend some time with her talking about our mutual love of short stories and travel. Her latest collection of short fiction When the World Wounds (2016) is as seductive as her first collection of short stories Ancient Ancient (Winner of the 2012 James Tiptree Jr. Award).

When the World Wounds is filled with evocative tales of transformation. Lush sensual language, intricate world building, and well-developed characters mark this collection as special. The characters in these stories evolve from their experiences, morphing into what they need to become in order to not only survive the changes in their environments, but to thrive as powerful beings. I enjoyed reading the entire collection but “The Pull of the Wing” (more of WaLiLa from Ancient Ancient), “Volcano Woman”, and “Hemmie’s Calenture” were outstanding. When the World Wounds will stand on its own but do yourself a favor and read Ancient Ancient before you read When the World Wounds just to experience that much more of Kiini’s gift.


Kiini Ibura Salaam is a writer, painter, and traveler from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work—which encompasses speculative fiction, erotica, creative nonfiction, and poetry–is rooted in speculative events, women’s perspectives, and artistic freedom. Her book Ancient, Ancient—winner of the 2012 James Tiptree, Jr. Award–collects sensual tales of the fantastic, the dark, and the magical. Her fiction has been published in such anthologies as Dark Matter, Mojo: Conjure Stories, Black Silk, and Dark Eros. Her essays have been published in Colonize This, When Race Becomes Real, Utne Reader, and Ms. magazine. Her Notes From the Trenches ebook series documents the challenges of the writing life. She keeps an archive of her writing and art at When the World Wounds is her second collection of short fiction.