Finalist for 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Winner of the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, Multicultural Indigenous Category

Finalist for the CALIBA/Golden Poppy Award, Martin Cruz Smith Diversity Category

Finalist for Northern California Book Award (NCBA) in Creative Nonfiction

An Apple Best Book of the Month, August 2021

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, Biographies Memoirs, August 2021



“Salh’s prose radiates with deep empathy and sensitivity, a reflection of the gift for storytelling she inherited from her poet grandmother. This stuns with its raw beauty.”

—Publishers Weekly 

“A brilliant and riveting book... The Last Nomad introduces the reader to the real lives in Somalia and the resilience of its people not only inside the nation but beyond.”

—Abdi Nor Iftin, author of Call Me American

“Shugri Salh's The Last Nomad is a fascinating look at a disappearing culture. It's told from the perspective of a girl growing into womanhood in a place where women's value and virtue hinges on the actions of men. Salh's stories of bravery and resilience intersplice with those of everyday joy and struggle. They show her forever navigating the place where two worlds collide with grace and skill, as perhaps only a nomad can.”

—Tracey Baptiste, author of The Jumbies and African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

Stunning . . . A clear-eyed, richly-remembered memoir that takes its readers on the journey of a lifetime.”


“An illuminating and engaging read . . . [Salh] offers an important perspective, carefully documenting her experiences and how they reflect geopolitical issues . . . A thoughtful and resonant celebration of the human spirit.”


“[A] beautifully written memoir . . . Salh’s memoir is a tale of both physical danger and family warmth and traditions, both nomadic and urban. She brilliantly takes the reader along with her, whether that is in the desert tending her herd or in the city, protecting her family . . . A memoir that demonstrates the power of a young woman to adapt to many difficult changes in life, by an author who was truly inspired by the strength and power of women in her own family.”

—Library Journal (Starred Review)

“A clear-eyed and moving chronicle of her coming-of-age during a tumultuous time in the history of her native Somalia . . . A thoughtful look at life in an often-misunderstood culture and region.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Shugri Said Salh has had a life few of us could ever imagine. From the age of six, she lived as a nomad on Somalia’s unforgiving, arid plains, herding goats under the gentle tutelage of her wise grandmother. Forced to flee with her family during the country’s early-’90s civil war, she lived in refugee camps before beginning a new life from scratch in North America. That quick summary makes The Last Nomad sound like a tragic read, but Salh’s intense focus on her connection to her family and her culture packs an inspiring emotional wallop. As a nurse, she’s crystal clear about why female genital mutilation is harmful to women. Yet her eye-opening description of undergoing it as a girl is filled with a surprisingly deep connection to her heritage. If you don’t know much about the lives of Somali women before starting The Last Nomad, knowing Salh’s story will make you want to learn more.”

—Apple Books, Best Book Of The Month, August

An intense, compassionate, and moving story of tradition and resilience.”

—Book Riot

“An absorbing attempt to explain, through vivid recollection and compassion for her own personal traumas and triumphs, how it feels to have experienced two such dramatically divergent lives.

—San Francisco Chronicle

“The prose is simple and open, and captivating. Shugri’s voice calmly teaches us about a stunning world most Americans are unfamiliar with, and the struggles of immigrating.”

—Napa Valley Register, Elayna Trucker

“A unique story of an unusual life.”

—Southern California News Group, Stuart Miller

“A triumph of storytelling that illuminates the nomadic culture . . . As a testimony to human resilience as well as a love letter to Somalia and its people, The Last Nomad delivers accessible insights. Salh’s hard-won wisdom endures in her sometimes painful, yet always riveting and entertaining book.”


“Heartbreaking and soaringly inspirational . . . Gorgeous.”

—Petaluma Argus-Courier

“The riveting and lyrical tale she tells is complex and reflects many angles of a patriarchal nomadic culture that is by turns oppressive and supportive, frightening and beautiful . . . Her storyteller’s voice infuses her memoir with a playful, poetic spirit.”

—North Bay Bohemian

“Salh writes lyrically and with reverence about her upbringing… she recalls with clear-eyed honesty the casual cruelties she witnessed in a homeland riven by clan warfare and a native culture that, for all its rich traditions, is rooted in misogyny.”

—Santa Rosa Press-Democrat