NoViolet shortlisted for international award


ZIMBABWEAN author NoViolet Bulawayo has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for her debut novel We Need New Names.

This should be another milestone achievement for the writer after her short story Hitting Budapest won the 2011 Caine Prize.

When Robert Macfarlane, the chair of this year’s Man Booker Prize judges, announced the longlist he called it the most diverse in recent memory. He was right, and the same is still true of the shortlist he and his peers have just selected.

The 151 novels they started with represented an array of contemporary fiction, a grand vista that encompassed everything from the epic to the miniaturist. The longlist distilled the numbers, but kept the flavour and now the shortlist has intensified it further.

The six books on the list could not be more diverse. There are examples from novelists from New Zealand, England, Canada, Ireland and Zimbabwe – each with its own highly distinctive taste. They range in size from the 832 pages of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries to the 104-page The Testament of Mary by ColmTóibín.

Any book that bears re-reading has merit. A book that then stands out above its peers is special indeed. The judges’ arguments will have been impassioned – no one invests the time and energy to read 151 books without the enterprise mattering to them.

The shortlist is a consensus: it is one that shows that the judges have wide-ranging tastes; that they are unswayed by reputations (many big names didn’t make the longlist let alone the shortlist); that they have no predilection for one particular genre.

It is clear that the perennial complaint that fiction is too safe and unadventurous is a ridiculous one; it shows that the novel remains a multi-faceted thing; that writing and inspiration knows no geographical borders; that diaspora tales are a powerful strand in imaginative thinking; and that human voices, in all their diversity, drive fiction.

The shortlist, in other words, is fiendishly difficult to categorise. And that is exactly what you would hope from a list selecting from the best that contemporary fiction has to offer. Quality comes in different forms and in 2013 there is plenty of it about.

Below is the full list:
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Harvest by Jim Crace

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Testament of Mary by ColmTóibín

About Man Booker International Prize worth £60 000, the prize is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there are no submissions from publishers.

Launched in 2005, the Man Booker International Prize has already established itself as a major player in the literary world and has literary excellence as its sole focus.

The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlights one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In seeking out literary excellence, the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.

Writers from across the globe are eligible for the bi-annual prize, provided their work is available in English. Previous winners include Albanian novelist and poet Ismail Kadare in 2005, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe in 2007, Alice Munro in 2009, Philip Roth in 2011 and Lydia Davis in 2013.


  1. Good luck. Positive news for a change. Tanga tanzwa nema sewage coming out of a certain kaharahwa with promises upon promises. I will go buy your book today.

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