NoViolet Bulawayo

The Judges said:

A novel of such imaginative force that in navigating its own imagined reality, it unmoors our own.


A long time ago, in a bountiful land not so far away, the animal denizens lived quite happily. Then the colonisers arrived. After nearly a hundred years, a bloody War of Liberation brought new hope for the animals — along with a new leader.

Glory tells the story of a country seemingly trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it. History can be stopped in a moment. With the return of a long-lost daughter, a #freefairncredibleelection, a turning tide — even a single bullet.

Published by Chatto & Windus

Buy here

NoViolet Bulawayo grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. When she was eighteen, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her first novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, among others and Glory was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.


A Brief Q & A with NoViolet Bulawayo

At what age did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I was writing in my teens, but it was for the love of storytelling versus wanting to be a writer, which I didn’t even know was an option then. It wasn’t until college, in my early twenties, working with teachers who actively nurtured my writing that the desire took hold.

What was your favourite childhood book?

Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood – one of the few books I remember from an early childhood of scarce books. It transported me to a magical universe that felt so real I wanted to live there.

Which is your favourite book of recent years?

Nazaré by JJ Amaworo Wilson is one. A potent tale of oppression and resistance, and just a marvel of storytelling; the writing is magical.

What three books would you take to your Desert Island?

The Bible – it would be a perfect time and setting to read this great work of literature from cover to cover. The Lunatic, by Anthony Wrinkle – also the funniest book I’ve ever read – the laughter would be necessary. The Margaret Busby-edited monumental anthology, New Daughters of Africa – to revel in a feast of over two hundred works by women of African descent.


What is your ‘if you don’t like this, you can’t be my friend’ book?

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. I swear by this sweeping feat of literary genius.


Who or what have been your most important influences?

The storytellers from my childhood, especially my father and his mother; from them I learned the beauty of orature, and to write for the ear. There was this “Prophet” in the neighbourhood whose riveting prophecies were a masterclass in inhabiting character, language and voice and the craft of fiction. The South African singer, Brenda Fassie was a stunning narrator and translator of her worlds. Too many writers, obviously; they include Yvonne Vera, Barbara Makhalisa, Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jon McGregor, Edwidge Danticat.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing? 

Telling stories in the griot tradition; that is to say I can’t really imagine doing anything else.