NoViolet Bulawayo Wins the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for We Need New Names
NoViolet Bulawayo with authors Mitchell S Jackson and Chinelo Okparanta, from Jackson’s Instagram
Alert! NoViolet Bulawayo has been honoured again for her debut novel, We Need New Names, this time winning the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for fiction.
The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, based in Washington DC, USA, and named after Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, are presented annually to published writers of African descent by the national community of black writers, to “celebrate excellence in black literature”.
The Hurston/Wright 2014 award for non-fiction went to Craig Steven Wilder for Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, while the poetry award went to Amaud Jamaul Johnson, for Darktown Follies.
Novelist and co-founder and president emeritus of the Hurston/Wright Foundation Marita Golden said We Need New Names “felt like an imperative read”, adding: “The judges said, ‘We see NoViolet’s great characters, their entrapments, their miseries, their hungers and we also see ourselves.”
We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and won the the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature, the 2014 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.
Bulawayo accepted the award “with gratitude”:
Accepting the award, Bulawayo stood on stage in brilliant yellow. “It is such a great privilege to be nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for fiction and to be nominated along with a fine list of writers with many accomplishments,” said Bulawayo, who won a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. “I accept this award with gratitude and in celebration of the luminous lives and the works of Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, for being the bright beacons who created so we could write today with gratitude and dignity.”
Washington Post feature writer DeNeen Brown and the Caine Prize congratulated Bulawayo on Twitter:
— alandio & kronotipo (@aldomanucio) October 27, 2014
Congratulations to unstoppable NoViolet Bulawayo who won and was awarded the @HurstonWright Foundation Prize last night in Washington DC!
— Caine Prize (@CainePrize) October 26, 2014
Bulawayo posted some photographs from the event on her Facebook page: