We Need New Names

Author(s): NoViolet Bulawayo

General | Man Booker Short List 2013

'To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the U.S.A. and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti, and not even this one we live in - who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?' Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn't all bad, though. There's mischief and adventure, games of finding bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges - for her and also for those she's left behind.


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Ten-year-old Darling has a choice: it's down, or out

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013

US National Book Award 5 Under 35

Winner of the Etisalat Prize 2014

Winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2014

Winner of a Betty Trask Award 2014

"Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative... stunning novel... remarkably talented author" - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

"Creates a fictional world that is immediate, fresh, and identifies the arrival of a talented writer" - Francesca Angelini, Sunday Times (Culture)

"A really talented and ambitious author" - Helon Habila, Guardian

"A debut that blends wit and pain... heartrending... wonderfully original" - Margaret Busby, Independent

"A powerful new African voice" - Pride Magazine

"Bulawayo's use of contemporary culture...as well as her fearless defense of the immigrant experience through honoring the cadence of spoken language, sets this book apart---on the top shelf" - Oprah magazine

"A brilliantly poignant tale of what it is to be an outsider in a strange land" - Glamour

"Written in sharp, snappy prose, this is a raw and thought-provoking debut" - Easy Living

"A novel that deals with the immigrant experience and torn identity is nothing new; what justifies the inclusion of We Need New Names on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize is NoViolet Bulawayo’s command of Darling’s captivating voice, as she and her friends race through Paradise – “When we hit the bush we are already flying, scream-singing like the wheels in our voices will make us go faster” – a siren call of life and laughter more powerful than the hardships that blight her childhood." - Lucy Scholes, Times Literary Supplement

"When a novel is praised by Helon Habila and Oprah Winfrey, you have to sit up" - Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday


NOVIOLET BULAWAYO was born in Tsholotsho a year after Zimbabwe's independence from British colonial rule. Unlike her seven older siblings, she was born into a free country with the promise of broadened horizons. She was brought up by vibrant storytellers, including her grandmother, and quickly found a relationship between their stories and the stories she read in books. When she was eighteen, NoViolet moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was surprised by the unwelcoming cold, and that life in America was not the luxurious version she had seen on TV. But she enjoyed having her own room and being able to go the mall and get fancy clothes without having to wait for Christmas. In 2011 she won the Caine Prize for African Writing and her work has also been shortlisted for the 2009 South Africa PEN Studzinsi Award (judged by J.M. Coetzee). 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. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship, and she is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

General Fields

  • : 9780701188047
  • : penguin random house
  • : Chatto & Windus
  • : October 2012
  • : 216mm X 135mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : NoViolet Bulawayo
  • : Paperback
  • : 613
  • : English
  • : 813
  • : very good
  • : 304