Zimbabwe congratulates Booker nominee novelist


HARARE, Oct. 15 — Zimbabwe on Tuesday congratulated novelist NoViolet Bulawayo for being shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize, becoming the first Zimbabwean and first black African woman to be shortlisted.
Bulawayo, for her book “We Need New Names”, is tipped together with five other writers from Britain, Ireland and the 54-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies for the coveted British literary award whose winner will be announced on Tuesday.
Speaking in Harare hours before announcement of the winner, the director for the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Elvis Mari said the novelist had done herself and Zimbabwe proud by getting shortlisted.
“It is very interesting and exciting news that one of our own has been nominated for the award. It’s a very big achievement not only for the artist but for the arts sector in Zimbabwe,” Mari said in an interview with Xinhua.
He expressed hope that Bulawayo, real name Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, 31, will win the prize which carries a whooping 78,500 U.S. dollars reward.
Mari said getting nominated for an international award was a great achievement on its own and winning the prize will be a “bonus” for Bulawayo.
“We want to congratulate her for getting nominated. It is recognition of the hard work she has done,” he said.
Her book is a tale of a 10-year old girl who escapes poverty back home only to find new problems in the United States.
Her local publisher, Weaver Press in Harare, was ecstatic about the short listing.
“We are thrilled with Bulawayo’s nomination. It’s the biggest literary prize in the world and it’s a very big achievement for her because she is competing with well known writers. It’s a great sign of recognition,” said a spokesperson for the publisher.
Bulawayo went to the United States to study law in 1999. Later, she earned a master’s in fine arts at Cornell University where she was awarded a Truman Capote fellowship. She is currently on a fellowship at Stanford University.[db:内容2]