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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
The challenging rhythm and infectious language of NoViolet Bulawayo's emotionally articulate novel turns a familar tale of immigrant displacement into a heroic ballad. Bulawayo's courage and her literary scope shine out from this outstanding debut - Daily Mail
Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative... stunning novel... remarkably talented author - New York Times
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 debut that blends wit and pain... heartrending... wonderfully original - Independent
We Need New Names is full of life -- you can almost feel the sun on your arms and hear the birds in the trees -- and Bulawayo is certainly one to watch - Stylist
Written in sharp, snappy prose, this is a raw and thought-provoking debut - Easy Living
Original, witty and devastating - People Magazine
How does a writer tell the story of a traumatized nation without being unremittingly bleak? NoViolet Bulawayo manages if by forming a cast of characters so delightful and joyous that the reader is seduced by their antics at the same time as finding out about the country’s troubles… A debut that is poignant and moving but which also glows with humanity and humour - Independent on Sunday
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's We Need New Names is an exquisite and powerful first novel, filled with an equal measure of beauty and horror and laughter and pain. The lives (and names) of these characters will linger in your mind, and heart, long after you're done reading the book. No Violet Bulawayo is definitely a writer to watch - Edwidge Danticat
I was bowled over... by NoViolet Bulawayo's shatteringly good first novel, We Need New Names - Anne Tyler, Good Housekeeping
A work of gritty naturalism - Prospect
A truthful, profound snapshot of the kind of life that often gets overlooked. Moving, fresh, enlightening. A fantastic novel - Waterstone's Aberystwyth
A fresh, engaging take on the relationship between rich and poor - Wanderlust
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
Wonderfully, this is a novel whipped with the complexities of African identities in a post-colonial and globalised world and its most compelling theme is that of contemporary displacement, a theme that will resonate with many readers - We Sat Down Blog
This is a young author to watch - Financial Times
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
Bulawayo excels... there is an inevitable nod to Achebe and the verbal delights and child's-eye view of the world is redolent of The God of Small Things. Otherwise, the magic is all Bulawayo's own - Literary Review
This brilliant novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize - Marie Claire UK
There is no doubt that a new star of African female writing is truly born. The one-to-watch - New African
Follow ten-year-old Darling from the Paradise shantytown to America in this searing indictment of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe - Metro
Shocking, often heartbreaking – but also pulsing with energy - The Times
A poignant, witty, original and lyrical coming of age story - Daily Express
Talented and ambitious - Guardian
From the opening chapter…the first-person narrative achieves a breathtaking vibrancy, ambition and pathos - Irish Examiner
Deserved all the publicity it got - Spectator
By this author
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.