The record-setting Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo’s extraordinary second novel Glory is one of thirteen novels on the recently-announced Booker Prize for Fiction longlist.
This is a second appearance for Bulawayo who has attained the rare feat of being the first Black African woman to appear on the Booker list twice, and the only African writer—aside from Nigeria’s Chigozie Obioma—to be listed consecutively, for her debut and follow-up novel. Bulawayo earned her first Longlist in 2013 for her critically acclaimed debut novel We Need New Names. The novel went on to be shortlisted for the prize, edging out heavyweights like Tash Aw and Column McCann. The prize ultimately went to Eleanor Catton for The Luminaries.
The Booker Prize annually rewards a single work of fiction in English with a cash prize of £50,000 to a writer of any nationality published in the UK. In recent history, the prize’s list has seen promising triumphs by African writers including two wins in just the past three years (Damon Galgut in 2021 and Bernardine Evaristo in 2019).
NoViolet Bulawayo’s Glory is a brilliant book, nothing shot of a masterpiece. Using animal characters, it presents a satirical account of Zimbabwe’s political upheaval following the fall of Robert Mugabe. Following in the tradition of African fables and the allegorical traditional popularized by George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the novel uses animal characters to paint a bitingly honest and yet poignant portrait of modern Zimbabwe. (Read our review here.)
Joining Bulawayo on what is truly one of the most diverse Longlist yet are Percival Everett for The Trees, Shehan Karunatilaka for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Audrey Magee for The Colony and the twenty-year old author Leila Mottley for Nightcrawling.
A shortlist of six books will be announced in September and a winner announced soon thereafter.
Go here to see the full Longlist.
Congratulations and rooting for NoViolet Bulawayo!