Zimbabwe Writer NoViolet Bulawayo Among 13 Authors In The Running For Prestigious 2022 Booker Prize For Fiction

US-based Zimbabwe writer Elizabeth Zandile Tshele who goes by the pen name NoViolet Bulawayo is among 13 authors in the running for this year's prestigious 50,000 pound ($60,000) Booker Prize for fiction. 

The list announced Tuesday also includes authors from Britain, Ireland, Sri Lanka and the United States of America.

NoViolet Bulawayo’s book titled Glory is a tale set in Jidada, a fictional African country that can be understood as a sort of fantasia of Zimbabwe in the period between the 2017 military overthrow of president Robert Mugabe and his death two years later.

Glory received rave reviews as the most anticipated book of 2022 by Vulture, BuzzFeed and selection by Oprah’s Book Club.

NoViolet Bulawayo
NoViolet Bulawayo

Five awards judges selected the contenders from 169 books submitted by publishers. Former British Museum director Neil MacGregor, who is chairing the judging panel, said the list “offers story, fable and parable, fantasy, mystery, meditation and thriller.” He said many of the books have plots driven by “long histories of conflict and injustice” and grapple with “the elusive nature of truth.”

American writer Leila Mottley (“Nightcrawling”) is one of three debut novelists on the list, alongside Britain’s Maddie Mortimer (“Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies”) and American author Selby Wynn Schwartz (“After Sappho”). British fantasy author Alan Garner, on the list for “Treacle Walker,” is the oldest-ever Booker nominee at 87 whilst 20-year-old Mottley is the youngest.

NoViolet Bulawayo has been a Booker contender before. Other repeat finalists are Best-selling American writers Karen Joy Fowler for her novel about Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, “Booth,”, Elizabeth Strout for “Oh William!” a symphony of everyday lives and Scotland’s Graeme Macrae Burnet, for psychological mystery “Case Study.”

The field is rounded out by “Trust,” by U.S. writer Hernan Diaz; American author Percival Everett’s “The Trees”; Irish writer Claire Keegan’s “Small Things Like These”; “The Colony” by Ireland’s Audrey Magee; and “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” by Sri Lanka’s Shehan Karunatilaka.

Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming writers’ careers and was originally open 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.

A six-book shortlist will be announced on Sept. 6, and the winner will be crowned on Oct. 17 at a ceremony in London.

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Mungwadzi Godwin

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