2017-18 Common Read Author:
NoViolet Bulawayo is the pen name of Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, born 1981 in Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe, in the Matabeleland North Province. She attended secondary school in Zimbabwe and studied at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English from Texas A&M and Southern Methodist Universities, respectively. She completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Cornell University, with a Truman Capote Fellowship. She has also been a Stegner Writing Fellow and Lecturer in Fiction at Stanford University.
Her first novel, We Need New Names, was published in 2013. It was included in the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist, making NoViolet Bulawayo the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize--often described as the leading literary award for work in the English language. The book won many other awards and distinctions, including the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.