Africa: Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo Shortlisted for Top Literary Prize

Cape Town — The celebrated Zimbabwean novelist, NoViolet Bulawayo, has been short-listed for one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards for her latest work, Glory.

Describing the book’s relevance to the issues facing today’s world, the judges of Britain’s Booker Prize said “this political satire goes beyond Zimbabwe and could relate to nations with despotic regimes around the world. It is also a book about feminism and power sharing.”

In a review recently published on AllAfrica,  Tinashe Mushakavanhu described how animals take on human characteristics in the book.

“Through this,” Mushakavanhu wrote, she explores what happens when an authoritarian regime implodes, using characters who are horses, pigs, dogs, cows, cats, chickens, crocodiles, birds and butterflies…

Glory is set in a kingdom called Jidada, which could be Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Idi Amin’s Uganda, Hastings Banda’s Malawi, Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe or any other authoritarian regime in Africa, for there are many. The tropes Bulawayo makes fun of are so recognisable and familiar.”

Bulawayo herself has written that while Zimbabwe inspired her book, she saw it as “my humble contribution” to the collective struggles of “resistance movements across the world challenging different forms of oppression…”

The other books shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize are: The Trees by Percival Everett; Treacle Walker by Alan Garner; The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka; Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan; and Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout.

The winner will be announced in London on October 17.

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