We Need New Names
Darling is only ten years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo’s belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad. But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America’s famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few.
NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut calls to mind the great storytellers of displacement and arrival who have come before her-from Junot Diaz to Zadie Smith to J.M. Coetzee-while she tells a vivid, raw story all her own.
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NoViolet Bulawayo (pen name of Elizabeth Tshele) is a Zimbabwean author, and Stegner Fellow at Stanford University (2012–2014). Bulawayo won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “Hitting Budapest,” about a gang of street children in a Zimbabwean shantytown. Her first novel We Need New Names (2013) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, making her the first African female writer to earn this distinction.
She has begun work on a memoir project.