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Bulawayo - Daily Telegraph

If Mugabe once asked to greet the Zimbabwean Big Brother Africa runner up, there’s a chance that he’d want to meet and congratulate Noviolet Bulawayo if her novel wins the prestigious Booker Prize. In a recent Guardian interview, she is asked what she’d do if that ever happened. Her response?  “Out of principle I wouldn’t…I don’t think we’ll be seeing ourselves shaking hands any time soon.”

In case you hadn’t heard, Bulawayo’s debut novel, We Need New Names, is on the Booker long list. The novel also made it into the Guardian First Book Award long list. Lots of good vibes her way from Brittle Paper. Hope she wins both prizes!

Here’s more of what she has to say on Zimbabwe and Mugabe in the interview.

On returning home after 13 years of being away: 

“I knew from news and stories that things were hard, but being there and seeing it for myself was just heartbreaking. Even now knowing that there are no answers, and it’s not going to get better any time soon, is crushing.”

On Mugabe: 

“There was a time when he was good for the country but I feel like that time is gone. The last election spoke to it all, obviously. I think a balanced person would be hard pressed to just stand and say this guy is a good guy, with all the facts on the table. It’s quite sad that a country with so much promise is forced on its knees because of the ruling party. I just hope that culture changes.

The Election: 

“The election wasn’t stolen by the west, the violence of 2008 wasn’t carried out by the west. It’s time to deal with facts as they affect us.”

On life away from home: 

“For me, life outside the homeland is a story of perpetual mourning for what is gone. It’s amazing how the simplest things can trigger that melancholy, from walking down the street and hearing on the car radio a song from home, to the smell of food, to a face that looks like somebody’s face.”

Find the full interview HERE

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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