NoViolet Bulawayo, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, is this year’s winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for the best debut novel by an American author. A native of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo is being honored for her book We Need New Names (Reagan Arthur Books, 2013), which tells the story of a young girl who leaves Zimbabwe to live with an aunt in Detroit.
In addition to $10,000, the winner of the award also receives a one-week residency in the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at the University of Idaho’s master of fine arts program in creative writing.
Bulawayo also received the Etisalat Prize for Literature given for the best debut novel by a writer from Africa. The award, which was presented in Lagos, Nigeria, comes with a cash prize of £15,000.
In 2011, Bulawayo won the Caine Prize for African writing for her short story, “Hitting Budapest.” The story, published in the Boston Review, is about six children from a shanty town in Zimbabwe who wander into an affluent white suburban community. The Caine Prize is among Africa’s leading literary honors.
Bulawayo is a graduate of Texas A&M University Commerce. She holds a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a master or fine arts degree from Cornell University.