Zimbabwean Author Noviolet Bulawayo’s Novel Glory Shortlisted for 2022 Booker Prize

Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo’s second novel Glory is one of six novels on the 2022 Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist.

Although the shortlist is diverse in terms of nationality and gender, Bulawayo is the only Black woman on the list. Through her vivid storytelling and playful language, Bulawayo took out many strong competitors present in the longlist including Hernan Diaz, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Maddie Mortimer, Leila Mottley, Audrey Magee, Selby Wynn Schwartz, and Karen Joy Fowler.

For the second time in her career, Bulawayo has been both longlisted and shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her debut novel We Need New Names was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013. The novel went on to be shortlisted for the prize as well, but did not secure a win. Bulawayo is the first Black African woman to appear on the Booker list twice, and one of the few African writers to be listed consecutively. We hope that her efforts pay off this time and her brilliant second novel Glory wins the Booker Prize as it so deserves to!

Inspired by the events of Zimbabwe’s political unrest after the fall of Robert Mugabe, Glory narrates the story of the former president’s regime and downfall using animal characters to soften the frame of human politics. Styled as a political allegory, the novel draws on George Orwell’s Animal Farm and African fables to depict the nuanced relationship between the citizen and the nation. (Read our review here.)

The chair of the Booker Prize 2022 judges, Neil MacGregor, remarked that all six shortlisted novels use language to create a world, which readers can then inhabit. He claimed, “Bulawayo’s incantatory repetitions induct us all into a Zimbabwean community of memory and expectation.”

The Booker Prize is an annual award presented to a single work of fiction in English published in the UK. The winning author receives a cash prize of £50,000 and global recognition. African writers have been quite successful in securing the prize in the past few years – Damon Galgut won in 2021 and Bernardine Evaristo in 2019.

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The six shortlisted books chosen this year are all incredibly different from each other, set in different places and at different times. Besides Bulawayo, the other authors who made it to the shortlist are Percival Everett for The Trees, Shehan Karunatilaka for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeidai, Claire Keegan for Small Things Like These, Alan Garner for Treacle Walker, and Elizabeth Strout for Oh William!.

The winner will be announced on October 17 at the Roundhouse in London. We are waiting eagerly to find out the results!

See the full shortlist here.

Congratulations to NoViolet Bulawayo! We will be cheering her on from the sidelines.

Excerpt: Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde
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