With this nomination, Bulawayo whose real name is Elizabeth Zandile Tshele has become the first Zimabwean included in the running for this esteemed accolade, and also the first black African woman added to the shortlist.
Impressively her first novel, ‘We Need New Names’ tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who leaves her shanty town in Zimbabwe to go live with her aunt in America, in the hope that she would have a better life with better opportunities. She, however, soon realises that she has merely swopped one set of problems for a whole bunch of new ones.
Speaking to AFP, the writer said being honoured with this nomination is an “amazing feeling” but that she also feels slightly “awkward” because there are so many other writers worthy of such praise.
“I feel there are so many deserving black women who came before me,” she said. “So I feel very lucky and honoured, especially as this is my first novel.”
South African writer Nadine Gordimer was in 1974 named joint winner of the Man Booker Prize for ‘The Conservationist’. JM Coetzee is a double winner, having received it in 1983 and 1999, and Nigerian-born author Ben Okri won it in 1991 for his third novel, ‘The Famished Road’.
– TEAMtalk Media