Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."
Noviolet Bulawayo. Author of We Need New Names. Zimbabwe

Noviolet Bulawayo. Author of We Need New Names. Zimbabwe

NoViolet Bulawayo is a Zimbabwean author and Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her debut novel We Need New Names was released in 2013 and was included in the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist.  This made her the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It also won the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award among other accolades. She has begun work on a memoir project. She talked to Writivism’s Rebecca Rwakabukoza about her involvement with the continental project and her debut novel.

RR: What is your inspiration for being on the Board Of Trustees for Writivism?

NB: It seems a fitting time to quote Dr. Maya Angelou who said, “When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” This is an opportunity that allows me to share and collaborate and inspire along with like-minded people who are working hard to take writing and reading on the continent to the next level.

RR: What are your hopes for organisations like Writivism and its annual Festival?

NB: Writivism is already doing exciting things: workshops, mentorships, a festival, an anthology, a couple of writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize, fellowships, alternative publishing spaces for writers and, most importantly, writers and readers from different spaces being in conversation with each other. This is very encouraging and I hope to see the young organisation grow. All these efforts foster a fresh reading and writing culture that helps to inspire and shape the future of African literature.

RR: You published We Need New Names with an American-based publishing house. What are your thoughts on accessibility to publishing for Africa-based authors and how that affects their being read?

NB: We’re all aware that publishing opportunities are slim, though of course dynamics vary from country to country. This simply means we do not realise our full potential, whether we are talking about who is published, what readers read, if they read and the type of stories being told. However way we look at it, it is our loss, especially considering that we have so many stories to tell.

RR: What has the fame/success of We Need New Names felt like for you? Did you expect it to be that successful or do you still feel like you’re in some kind of dream?

NB: Ha, I think you need at least a few strong novels under your belt to be called a successful writer, but I’ll say that We Need New Names is a lucky book and has taken me by surprise, perhaps because I had no expectations. All I wanted was to write a book and I didn’t worry much about what would happen to it, where it would go. And I will always want this, really, to just write.

**************************

This interview is the first in a series showcasing new African writers, names you’ve probably never heard of.  Noviolet Bulawayo is certainly not a new writer, but she is kicking off the series because of her outstanding work with the Writivism project. Check back every Friday for a new interview. Thanks to the folks at Writivism for conducting the interviews and choosing to share it on our platform. 

Image: The Telegraph

 

Tags: , , ,

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.

9 Responses to “N. Bulawayo on Literary Success, Giving Back, and Writivism | Interviewed by Rebecca Rwakabukoza” Subscribe

  1. Catherine Onyemelukwe 2014/09/12 at 08:34 #

    Thank you for posting this interview with NoViolet Bulawayo. She is exercising her talents well. I will post this in my blog catherineonyemelukwe.com on Sunday. I loved her book.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Yam Festival, Ebola, An Essay and a BookCatherine Onyemelukwe | Catherine Onyemelukwe - 2014/09/14

    […] loved reading this interview with the author NoViolet Bulawayo from Brittle […]

  2. On Interview: Noviolet Bulawayo by Rebecca Rwakabukoza « 234stories MAGAZINE - 2014/09/18

    […] CONTINUE READING Click here to cancel reply. […]

  3. Ellen Banda on Writing Children’s Fiction | Interviewed by Caleb Adebayo | Brittle Paper - 2014/09/19

    […] interview is the second in a series showcasing new African writers where African writers share their story as writers.  Check back every Friday for a new […]

  4. Kelechi Njoku on Nigerian Reading Culture | Interviewed by Sydney Mugerwa | Brittle Paper - 2014/10/03

    […] interview is the thrid in a series showcasing new African writers where African writers share their story as writers.  Check back every Friday for a new […]

  5. Meet Ngasa Wise, the Writer-Activist-Social-Entrepreneur! | Interviewed by Sydney Mugerwa | Brittle Paper - 2014/10/10

    […] interview is the fourth in a series showcasing new African writers. It’s a platform for these writers to share their story and reflect not just on their work […]

  6. Tosin Kolawole is Inspired By Anything and Everything | Interviewed by Caleb Adebayo | Brittle Paper - 2014/10/17

    […] interview is the fifth in a series showcasing new African writers. It’s a platform for these writers to share their story and reflect not just on their work […]

  7. Caine Prize Shortlistee, Efemia Chela, Speaks on Writivism and Mentorship | Interviewed by Caleb Adebayo | Brittle Paper - 2014/10/31

    […] interview is the sixth in a series showcasing new African writers. It’s a platform for these writers to share their story and reflect not just on their work […]

  8. Okwiri’s Critique of Our Stories Was Invaluable | Sydney Mugerwa on Writivism Mentorship | Brittle Paper - 2014/11/14

    […] piece is the seventh and the last in a series showcasing new African writers. It’s a platform for these writers to share their story and reflect not just on their work […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Demons in the Villa | Excerpt from Ebenezer Obadare’s Pentecostal Republic

pentecostal republics ebenezer obadare

Pentecostal Republic takes a hard look at the influence of pentecostalism in Nigerian politics. Prof. Obadare is a sociologist, who […]

Yasmin Belkhyr, Romeo Oriogun, Liyou Libsekal, JK Anowe Featured in Forthcoming 20.35 Africa Anthology Guest-Edited by Gbenga Adesina and Safia Elhillo

20.35 africa contributors

In February, we announced a call for submissions for a new poetry project. The anthology, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, […]

On Black and Arab Identities: Safia Elhillo’s Arab American Book Awards Acceptance Speech

Safia Elhillo - tcb book club (2)

Safia Elhillo has won the 2018 Arab American Book Award, also known as the George Ellenbogen Poetry Award, for her […]

Attend the Second Edition of the Write with Style Workshop with Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo (2)

Following the first edition of the Write With Style Workshop, the award-winning writer, critic, and journalist Oris Aigbokhaevbolo is hosting […]

Ngugi’s Novel, Matigari, Is Being Adapted to Film by Nollywood Director Kunle Afolayan

Kenyan author Ngugi wa ThiongÕo, Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at UC Irvine, is on the short list for the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature, for xxx(add phrase or blurb here from award announcement; 

Chancellor quote? Christine writing and getting approved quote).

Ngugi, whose name is pronounced ÒGoogyÓ and means Òwork,Ó is a prolific writer of novels, plays, essays and childrenÕs literature. Many of these have skewered the harsh sociopolitical conditions of post-Colonial Kenya, where he was born, imprisoned by the government and forced into exile.

His recent works have been among his most highly acclaimed and include what some consider his finest novel, ÒMurogi wa KagogoÓ (ÒWizard of the CrowÓ), a sweeping 2006 satire about globalization that he wrote in his native Gikuyu language. In his 2009 book ÒSomething Torn & New: An African Renaissance,Ó Ngugi argues that a resurgence of African languages is necessary to the restoration of African wholeness.

ÒI use the novel form to explore issues of wealth, power and values in society and how their production and organization in society impinge on the quality of a peopleÕs spiritual life,Ó he has said.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s 1987 novel Matigari is being adapted to film by Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan in a co-production with yet undisclosed Kenyan […]

Safia Elhillo Makes a Fashion Statement at the Arab American Book Awards

Safia Elhillo - tcb book club (2)

From Taiye Selasi’s dreamy designer collections and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s flayed sleeves and Dior collaboration to Alain Mabanckou’s dapper suits […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.