December Issue 2014

Page 16


Conversation With

NoViolet Bulawayo On Her Love Letter to Zimbabwe Words by Brendah Ibara

NoViolet Bulawayo—pen name for Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, is the author of ‘We Need New Names’ a novel whose first chapter ‘Hitting Budapest’ won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2011. The novel was also awarded the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and was short listed for the Man Booker Prize. NoViolet means ‘with’ in Ndebele a Southern African language and Violet is the name of her late mother who passed away when she was 18 months old. Bulawayo is her hometown in Zimbabwe where she grew up. NoViolet is currently a Stegner fellow at Standford University. AfroElle caught up with the Zimbabwean writer during a book signing in Kampala to talk about her debut novel and her writing.