Darling is only ten years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo’s belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad. But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America’s famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few.
NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut calls to mind the great storytellers of displacement and arrival who have come before her–from Junot Diaz to Zadie Smith to J.M. Coetzee–while she tells a vivid, raw story all her own.
NoViolet Bulawayo was born in Tsholotsho a year after Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule. When she was eighteen, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In 2011 she won the Caine Prize for African Writing; in 2009 she was shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinsi Award, judged by JM Coetzee. Her work has appeared in magazines and in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship. She was also a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in California, where she now teaches. Her first novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013.