Zibabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo is on the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist for her novel titled Glory. [Read our review of the book and interview with Bulawayo here and here.] Of the 16 short listed author, Bulawayo is the only African.
Chair of judges Louise Minchin said that all 16 longlisted works “offer fresh perspectives on history and humanity, exploring hard truths with empathy, sensitivity, directness, and sometimes infectious humour.” The statement captures the essence of Bulawayo’s novel. Glory is a story about the end of Robert Mugabe’s decades-long presidency and the aftermaths of his death told through animal characters. It is told in a beautifully experimental style and laced with laugh-out-loud humor. It addresses the cycles of oppression that hold certain African worlds in thrall while centering the revolutionary possibilities of a truly new world.
This is Bulawayo’s first nomination for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, which, for 28 years has celebrated “outstanding, ambitious, original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world.” Any author from any nationality who has written a book originally published in English in the UK during the preceding year is eligible. The prize was established in the late 1990s as a response to the Booker Prize’s privileging of male writers at the time. The Women’s Prize has since fostered a global space for the celebration of women’s writing. Since its founding, over 20 African women have been represented on its long and shortlists, with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie winning in 2007 for Half of a Yellow Sun and receiving the Winner of Winners prize in 2020.
Bulawayo is a major voice in African literature today. Glory is her second book and was shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Her first book, which is considered a modern classic, is titled We Need New Names and was also shortlisted for the 2013 Booker Prize, making her the first Black African woman to appear on the Booker shortlist twice.
A shortlist of six books is set for April 26, after which the winner will be announced on June 14.
Congratulations to Bulawayo! We hope she gets into the shortlist.