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Zimbabwe's NoViolet Bulawayo makes Booker Prize shortlist with ‘Glory'

by Associated Press
08 Sep 2022 at 06:53hrs | Views
Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo has made the shortlist for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction.

The 40-year-old, real name Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, is in line for the award for her animal fable "Glory".

She was initially named in a lostlist of 13 writers in July, which has now been whittled down to the final 13.

The Zimbabwean is up against two American authors in Elizabeth Strout and Percival Everett as well as writers from Britain, Ireland and Sri Lanka.

The winner will be crowned on October 17 at a ceremony in London.

Former British Museum director Neil MacGregor, who is chairing the judging panel, said several of the books are inspired by real events and "address long national histories of cruelty and injustice, in Sri Lanka and Ireland, Zimbabwe and the United States."

"Set in different places at different times, they are all about events that in some measure happen everywhere, and concern us all," he said of the shortlist.

Inspired by George Orwell's Animal Farm, Glory is set in the animal kingdom of Jidada. After a 40-year rule, the "Old Horse" is ousted in a coup, along with his much-despised wife, a donkey named Marvellous. At first there is great rejoicing and hope for change under a new ruling horse, Tuvius Delight Shasha (the former vice-president turned rival of Old Horse). Hope, however, quickly vanishes and into the period of post-coup despair steps a young goat named Destiny, who returns from exile to bear witness to a land where greed, corruption and false prophets are rampant.

Elements of this story will sound familiar. In a note to the reader, Bulawayo explains that she attempted to write about Zimbabwe's November 2017 coup and the fall of Robert Mugabe in nonfiction, but found a better form in political satire.

Her debut novel "We Need New Names" was shortlisted for the 2013 Booker Prize, and the latest nod for "Glory" makes Bulawayo the first Black African woman to appear on the Booker list twice.

Strout's symphony of everyday lives "Oh William!" and Everett's powerful novel about racism and police violence, "The Trees," are on the shortlist announced Tuesday for the £50,000 (US$58,000) prize.

The other contenders include Irish writer Claire Keegan's "Small Things Like These"; and "The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida" by Sri Lanka's Shehan Karunatilaka.

British fantasy author Alan Garner — the oldest-ever Booker nominee at 87 — is on the list for "Treacle Walker."

Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming writers' careers and was originally open only to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Eligibility was expanded in 2014 to all novels in English published in the U.K.

Last year's winner was "The Promise," by South Africa's Damon Galgut.

Source - AP