Tuesday, July 23, 2013
NoViolet Bulawayo makes Booker long list
Congratulations to all of this year's Booker longlisted authors. We're excited to see NoViolet Bulawayo, a Zimbabwean author whose work previously appeared in Parthian's anthology of Zimbabwean short stories Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe, recognised for her first novel We Need New Names.
Her longlisted novel, We Need New Names (Chatto and Windus) follows Darling and her friends, living in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges - for her and also for those she's left behind.
NoViolet was born in Tsholotsho, a year after Zimbabwe's independence from British colonial rule. When she was eighteen, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship, and she is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in California. In We Need New Names she writes 'To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in - who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?'
A previous winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing (the 'African Booker') and also shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinsi Award, judged by JM Coetzee, NioViolet's work has appeared in magazines and in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK.
Seven different countries are represented on the Booker longlist, and while there is a strong hand of established authors selected (Tash Aw, Jim Crace, Jhumpa Lahiri, Colum McCann, Charlotte Mendelson and Colm Tóibín) there is also a good representation for first timers.
NoViolet's story 'Snapshots' appeared in Parthian's anthology of Zimbabwean writing Where to Now?, alongside work by Bryony Rheam and John Eppel. Complied by Zimbabwean publishing house 'amaBooks, Where to Now? was printed in the UK by Parthian in 2011.