reprinted from WIN-Zimbabwe newsletter
NoViolet Bulawayo is the author of We Need New Names which appears this year in May in the USA and in June in the UK. NoViolet won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story Hitting Budapest. Her works have been widely published in anthologies such as New Writing From Africa (edited by JM Coetzee), Where to Now? (amaBooks, Bulawayo), Writing Free (Weaver Press, Harare), and 2011 African Roar (StoryTime, South Africa). She is also a gifted poet, with poems that appeared in State of the Nation (Conversation Press) among other poetry anthologies. Below is brief but clever chat which WIN recently had with NoViolet about her new book We Need New Names (WNNN).
WIN: NoViolet, what would you say if a new aspiring writer asked you generally how many drafts or re-writes you discard/put aside before you come up with a satisfying final draft?
NoViolet: You just do however many drafts the story demands, you know, it’s like being in a relationship with a selfish, attention-devouring lover and you have to please them any way they want. It was an unending gig with WNNN, rewriting and getting there and taking it apart, rewriting and getting there and taking it apart, rinse and repeat. But of course I grew to enjoy the ‘taking-it-apart’ aspect of it, which is perhaps why I stopped counting drafts. That’s how many drafts it takes I suppose, until you stop keeping track and it becomes a pursuit of pleasure and folks have to almost wrest the thing from your hands.
WIN: How long did it take you to write WNNN?
NoViolet: Long enough to have had at least two children; I started around the fall of ’08, finished in 2012.
WIN: Any official launches of WNNN planned in Zimbabwe or abroad this year?
NoViolet: Definitely, a launch in May in the US and in June in the UK, and then sometime in August in Zimbabwe. And I must say I’m especially excited to add to Zimbabwe’s bookshelf.
WIN: Excited we also are for you NoViolet, you make us proud. We look forward to reading WNNN. Thanks a lot for taking the time to chat with us.