Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo is the first black African woman to be among the finalists of the Man Booker Prize 2013, one of the most prestigious international literary prizes, as famous as the Goncourt prize in France, according to the official list published on Tuesday. With a check for 50,000 pounds (62,000 euros), it rewards the best English-language fiction book in the Commonwealth and the Republic of Ireland.
A ten-year-old girl fleeing poverty in Zimbabwe
NoViolet Bulawayo, born in 1981, was selected for her novel We Need New Names, which can be translated as “We need new names” in French. It is the story of a ten-year-old girl, Darling, who flees poverty in Zimbabwe to live with her aunt in the United States where she has to face many problems. “A Stunning Novel” for the New York Times. For his part, the British The Guardian expressed reservations, however, noting in the book as a “desire to cover all “African” subjects” in the manner of a “checklist”.
The author, whose real name is Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, is also the first Zimbabwean writer to be among the finalists for the Man Booker Prize. It’s an “incredible feeling” to be selected, NoViolet Bulaway told AFP. “I think there are so many black women before me who deserve (this honor). I am very lucky and very honored, especially since this is my first novel,” she added.
Three African authors have already won the prize
If she wins, when the winner of the 2013 edition is announced on October 15, she will become the fourth African author to win the Booker Prize, after the South African JM Coetzee, his compatriot Nadine Gordimer and Ben Okri from Nigerian origin.
On Twitter, the list of six finalists was revealed by a malicious Vine video. A hand was removing from the shelf of a library the works that have been excluded from the competition.
The work of NoViolet Bulawayo is for the moment, still not translated into French.
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A black African woman, for the first time among the finalists of the Man Booker Prize