|NoViolet Bulawayo at the Indaba Book Cafe in Bulawayo|
The big event of the week is the hometown launch of NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel ‘We Need New Names’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday 17 September in the courtyard of the National Gallery in Bulawayo. The book has been long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. NoViolet is the first Zimbabwean, and the first Black African woman, to be shortlisted for the Man Booker, which has been one of the most prestigious literary awards for 42 years. The event, open to all, will feature readings by NoViolet as well as a conversation between NoViolet and Dr Drew Shaw of the National University of Science and Technology. The event is supported by amaBooks, British Council Zimbabwe, Bulawayo Agenda and Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo.
Earlier that day, NoViolet will facilitate a workshop for promising Bulawayo writers. The participants have been selected from those who have entered the Intwasa Short Story competition for the Yvonne Vera Award.
The next day, on Wednesday 18 September, there will be another literary event, at 5.30pm in the John Knight Cinema at the National Gallery. This time it will be a slide show presentation by Dr Drew Shaw, titled 'Looking back / Looking forward: Zimbabwean literature of the GNU period, 2009-2013', to be followed by discussion about whether or not we can see discernible trends in the national literature and critical studies of it in the last four years. As the title suggests, some literature casts its gaze back to earlier times, while other writing considers the contemporary situation or 'Where to Now?' (which is the title of one short story collection under discussion, published by amaBooks). On 29th June, Dr Shaw gave this presentation at the Britain Zimbabwe Society's 'Culture Without Borders' Research Day in Oxford and got interesting responses from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Now the idea is to get Zimbabwe-based perspectives as we continue the discussion.
At the same time on Wednesday, Susan Hubert will be launching her novel ‘Sabi Star’ at Déjà vu.
On Friday 20 September, at 5.30pm in the National Gallery, Styx Mhlanga will launch ‘Acting Exercises & Games for Drama Plays in Schools & Colleges’.