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NoViolet Bulawayo moves up literary ladder

13 Jun 2012

Becky Hardie at Chatto & Windus acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) for publication in 2013 of novel We Need New Names by Caine-prizewinning NoViolet Bulawayo.

Becky Hardie explained her joy, “We Need New Names set the whole of Vintage alight. The energy and power of Darling’s voice and NoViolet’s incredible use of language and storytelling make this a debut quite unlike any other. But [We Need] New Names isn’t all about language and storytelling, it’s also a vitally important book about war, poverty and the state of Zimbabwe. We are over the moon to welcome NoViolet to Chatto.”

We Need New Names tells the story of ten-year-old Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard, who used to have comfortable houses and existences but now live in a shantytown called Paradise. For these children, the only way is down – or out. To the US, in Darling’s case. Pulled out from the poverty, disease and violence of Paradise by her aunt and taken to the Midwest, Darling faces a whole new set of problems: language, food, friendships, the internet and being part of a community of exiles.

NoViolet’s story Hitting Budapest won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and was  selected for the Boston Review by Junot Diaz who commented, “I knew this writer was going to blow up.  Her honesty, her voice, her formidable command of her craft—all were apparent from the first page.” NoViolet has also been shortlisted for the 2009 SA PEN Studzinsi Award, and her work has appeared in Callaloo, the Boston Review, Newsweek  and the Warwick Review, as well as in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. NoViolet recently earned her MFA at Cornell University, where her work was recognised with a Truman Capote Fellowship. She will be attending Stanford in the autumn as a Wallace Stegner Fellow. NoViolet was born and raised in Zimbabwe.