Press Release: Chatto Acquire Thrilling Debut From 2011 Caine Prize Winner, Noviolet Bulawayo
Posted at 5:33PM Thursday 17 May 2012
To Becky Hardie at Chatto, debut novel We Need New Names by Caine-prizewinning NoViolet Bulawayo, after a heated auction conducted by Alba Zeigler-Bailey at the Wylie Agency, for publication in 2013. Chatto acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada.
We Need New Names tells the story of ten-year-old Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard, who used to have comfortable houses and existences but now live in a shantytown called Paradise. For these children, the only way is down – or out. To America, in Darling’s case. Pulled out from the poverty, disease and violence of Paradise by her aunt and taken to the Midwest, Darling faces a whole new set of problems: language, food, friendships, the internet and being part of a community of exiles.
NoViolet’s story ‘Hitting Budapest’ won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and was selected for the Boston Review by Junot Diaz who commented, ‘I knew this writer was going to blow up. Her honesty, her voice, her formidable command of her craft—all were apparent from the first page.’ NoViolet has also been shortlisted for the 2009 SA PEN Studzinsi Award, and her work has appeared in Callaloo, the Boston Review, Newsweek and the Warwick Review, as well as in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. NoViolet recently earned her MFA at Cornell University, where her work was recognised with a Truman Capote Fellowship. She will be attending Stanford in the autumn as a Wallace Stegner Fellow. NoViolet was born and raised in Zimbabwe.
Becky Hardie said, ‘We Need New Names set the whole of Vintage alight. The energy and power of Darling’s voice and NoViolet’s incredible use of language and storytelling make this a debut quite unlike any other. But New Names isn’t all about language and storytelling, it’s also a vitally important book about war, poverty and the state of Zimbabwe. We are over the moon to welcome NoViolet to Chatto.’
NoViolet said, ‘It’s a most exciting time for me; of course Chatto & Windus are prestigious publishers but more than that I feel We Need New Names is just lucky to be in the presence of a very passionate team. I’m thrilled, and cannot wait to share the novel, and hopefully more, with readers.’