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We Need New Names
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* Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013* * US National Book Award 5 Under 35 *
* Winner of the Etisalat Prize 2014*
* Winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2014*
* Winner of a Betty Trask Award 2014*
‘To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in – who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?’
Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn’t all bad, though. There’s mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices.
They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges – for her and also for those she’s left behind.
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Bulawayo’s novel is not just a stunning piece of literary craftsmanship but also a novel that helps elucidate today’s world - Daily Telegraph
Often heartbreaking, but also pulsing with colour and energy - The Times (Saturday Review)
Extraordinary - Daily Telegraph
Creates a fictional world that is immediate, fresh, and identifies the arrival of a talented writer - Sunday Times (Culture)
NoViolet Bulawayo uses words potently, blending brutality and lyricism in her unflinching, bittersweet story of displacement - Observer
A really talented and ambitious author - Guardian
A powerful new African voice - Pride Magazine
Bulawayo's use of contemporary culture...as well as her fearless defense of the immigrant experience through honoring the cadence of spoken language, sets this book apart---on the top shelf - Oprah magazine
A brilliantly poignant tale of what it is to be an outsider in a strange land - Glamour
Enthralling... a provocative, hauting debut from an author to watch - Elle (US)
Original, witty and devastating - People Magazine
A novel that deals with the immigrant experience and torn identity is nothing new; what justifies the inclusion of We Need New Names on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize is NoViolet Bulawayo’s command of Darling’s captivating voice, as she and her friends race through Paradise – “When we hit the bush we are already flying, scream-singing like the wheels in our voices will make us go faster” – a siren call of life and laughter more powerful than the hardships that blight her childhood. - Times Literary Supplement
When a novel is praised by Helon Habila and Oprah Winfrey, you have to sit up - Independent on Sunday
NoViolet Bulawayo has created a world that lives and breathes - and fights, kicks, screams and scratches, too. She has clothed it in words and given it a voice at once dissonant and melodic, utterly distinct - Aminatta Forna
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. - Junot Diaz
I was bowled over... by NoViolet Bulawayo's shatteringly good first novel, We Need New Names - Anne Tyler, Good Housekeeping
NoViolet Bulawayo is a powerful, authentic, nihilistic voice - feral, feisty, funny - from the new Zimbabwean generation that has inherited Robert Mugabe's dystopia - Peter Godwin, author of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
A work of gritty naturalism - Prospect
Witty... ebullient... heartbreaking... our feisty heroine's sparkle never dims - i
A truthful, profound snapshot of the kind of life that often gets overlooked. Moving, fresh, enlightening. A fantastic novel - Waterstone's Aberystwyth
A bittersweet coming-of-age tale of displacement during the southern African nation's 'lost decade' - Voice
A tale of our time, a powerful condemnation of global inequality from the point of view of a 10-year-old in impossible circumstances... a stunning piece of literary craftsmanship - Weekly Telegraph
Bulawayo, whose prose is warm and clear and unfussy, maintains Darling's singular voice throughout, even as her heroine struggles to find her footing. Her hard, funny first novel is a triumph. - Entertainment Weekly
This is a very readable tale, thanks to some excellent writing and its central character: a likeable heroine in a difficult world - UK Regional Press Syndication
We Need New Names is a distinct and hyper-contemporary treatment of the old You Can’t Go Home Again mould, and the book has more than enough going for it to easily graduate from the Booker longlist to the final six - Upcoming
deeply felt and fiercely written first novel - Scotsman
Bulawayo's novel may scream Africa, but her deft and often comic prose captures memories and tastes, among them the bitterness of disappointment, that transcend borders - Atlantic
Proof again that the Caine prize for African writers really knows how to pick a winner… [It’s] a tour de force. Ten-year-old Darling is an unforgettable and necessary new voice: add her to the literary cannon - Observer
This brilliant novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize - Marie Claire UK
An exceptionally fine novel, as powerful and memorable as Coetzee's magnificent Disgrace... We need new novels like this – authentic, original and cathartic - Herald
Talented and ambitious - Guardian
A powerful fictional condemnation of global inequality - Sunday Telegraph
From the opening chapter…the first-person narrative achieves a breathtaking vibrancy, ambition and pathos - Irish Examiner
Deserved all the publicity it got - Spectator
About the Author
NOVIOLET BULAWAYO was born in Tsholotsho a year after Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule. When she was eighteen, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In 2011 she won the Caine Prize for African Writing; in 2009 she was shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinsi Award, judged by JM Coetzee. Her work has appeared in magazines and in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship, and she is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in California. We Need New Names is her first novel. In 2013 it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.