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NoViolet Bulawayo Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize for We Need New Names

NoViolet Bulawayo

We Need New NamesAlert! Congratulations are in order for NoViolet Bulawayo, whose We Need New Names has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the most prestigious in literature for a single work of fiction.

In Cape Town, we can give these congratulations in person: she’s currently attending the Open Book Cape Town literary festival. Books LIVE has, in fact, just finished a short video with her:

Earlier during the festival, South Africa’s O magazine caught up with Bulawayo:

The immigrant experience, which this novel is obviously engaged with, is a fraught topic in South Africa, and a very difficult thing to represent. It’s also quite a popular topic, especially this year, in African fiction – Chimamanda Adichie talks about it, Taiye Selasi talks about it. Why? And why did you want to write a book about the immigrant experience?

NoViolet Bulawayo: “I don’t think there’s any particular reason why it’s popular, in that sense; writers are naturally interested in those kind of stories and experiences. So this book might be a coincidence – that said, I am moved by things that happen around me, and do feel a need to respond to them. And given our location – all three of us, for instance, while we live all over the world, we do all come from somewhere – it’s a time of great movement, from the African continent to elsewhere. I think maybe this is overemphasised, though; this book responds to that experience of movement as an accident of storytelling, more than as an objective.”

NoViolet, expect a lot of kisses from the crowds in the next few days!

The Zimbabwean author – the first to be long- and now shortlisted for the Booker – is up against some stiff competition, as the Man Booker Prize itself reports:

The six books on the list could not be more diverse. There are examples from novelists from New Zealand, England, Canada, Ireland and Zimbabwe – each with its own highly distinctive taste. They range in size from the 832 pages of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries to the 104-page The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín. The times represented stretch from the biblical Middle East (Tóibín) to contemporary Zimbabwe (NoViolet Bulawayo) by way of 19th-century New Zealand (Catton), 1960s India (Jumpha Lahiri), 18th-century rural England (Crace) and modern Tokyo (Ruth Ozeki). The oldest author on the list, Jim Crace, is 67, the youngest (indeed the youngest ever shortlistee), Eleanor Catton, is 28. Colm Tóibín has written more than 15 books, The Luminaries is only Catton’s second.

Here’s the complete shortlist:

  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Granta)
  • The Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador)
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
  • The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (Penguin)

And here’s the official Man Booker Shortlist Vine featuring NoViolet’s book:

The winner will be announced on 15 October. All very best wishes for NoViolet Bulawayo!

Book details


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    September 11th, 2013 @09:45 #

    Fantastic news! Huge congratulations, NoViolet.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 11th, 2013 @09:50 #

    Fabulous indeed! Congratulations.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Nozizwe Cynthia</a>
    Nozizwe Cynthia
    September 12th, 2013 @13:22 #

    Darling, well done :-)


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