Tlotlo Tsamaase is a Motswana writer (xe/xem/xer or she/her pronouns) currently living in Botswana. Tlotlo’s novella, The Silence of the Wilting Skin, is a 2021 Lambda Literary Award finalist and was shortlisted for a 2021 Nommo Award. Xer story “Behind Our Irises” is the joint winner of the Nommo Award for Best Short Story (2021), the first Motswana to win the award. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best of World SF Volume 1, Futuri uniti d’Africa, Clarkesworld, Terraform, Africanfuturism Anthology, The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021), Apex Magazine and is forthcoming in Africa Risen and Chiral Mad 5 and other publications. Xe was the first Motswana to be a 2017 Rhysling Award nominee. Xe is a 2011 Bessie Head Short Story Award winner.


Tlotlo Tsamaase is a member of PEN America, the African Speculative Fiction Society, SFWA, and Codex Writers Group. You can find xem on Instagram and Twitter at @tlotlotsamaase.

Xe is represented by Naomi Davis of  BookEnds Literary Agency.



Photo Credit: Lorraine Kinnear

Author Photos

Tlotlo Tsamaase 3 Credit Photographer Lorraine Kinnear.JPG

Photo Credit: Lorraine Kinnear

Tlotlo Tsamaase 1 Credit Photographer Lorraine Kinnear.JPG

Photo Credit: Lorraine Kinnear

Tlotlo  Tsamaase.jpg

Photo Credit: Tumisang Ramakoloi

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook



2021 Lambda Literary Award finalist

2021 Nommo Award finalist

Featured on the Washington Post's 2020 Books: Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror list.


In an African city, a nameless young woman living in the wards slowly begins to lose her identity: her skin color is peeling off, people are becoming invisible, and the city plans to destroy the train where they bury their dead.

In the wards the dreamskin people walk the land to predict a citizen’s death. After the narrator is given a warning by her grandmother’s dreamskin, things begin to fall apart. Struggling to hold onto a fluctuating reality, she prescribes herself insomnia in a desperate attempt to save her family. 




"A surrealist masterpiece."

Lavie Tidhar, author of Osama.

"Motswana author Tsamaase debuts with a lyrical and incisive allegory about personal identity and cultural loss set in an unnamed, phantasmagoric African city.  Through magnetic prose, dream logic, and lush imagery, Tsamaase delivers a fierce political message. Suffused with both love and righteous anger, this atmospheric anticolonialist battle cry is a tour de force."

Publishers Weekly (starred review).

"Tsamaase's words feel like the touch of the dreamskin -- painfully real and true. What does it mean to fight for what's important even as all you know and hold dear slips away? To fight for love in the face of erasure? This had me turning the pages in tense horror, but it also rings of hope. A rich and rewarding read."

Julio Rios,  Hugo Award winning editor + a writer, narrator, and podcaster.

"The Silence of the Wilting Skin by Tlotlo Tsamaase is an anticolonialist fantasy/dreamscape novel about the importance of family, love and one woman’s fight to preserve her identity and her culture."

The Lesbian Review.

"This novella is...a read that will get under your—ah—skin. It’s an itchy read—one that, for all its narrative imprecision, can leave imprints upon the flesh as good as if an otherworldly spectre had touched you there. In doing so, it curses you to experience a deeper awareness of the traumatic disintegration of narrative agency that exists in ever so many parts of our hurting world."

 M.L. Clark on Strange Horizons.

"In this bewildering truth and artful metaphor that Tsamaase has constructed, I found each page to be gorgeously written and often profound. This is a novella that wraps in velvet a raft of loss and outrage that must be recognized."

Locus Magazine.