NoViolet Bulawayo [real name Elizabeth Zandile Tshele] (1981 -)

NoViolet Bulawayo (pen name of Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, born 12 October 1981 in Tsholotsho) is a Zimbabwean author, and Stegner Fellow at Stanford University (2012–14). In 2012 the National Book Foundation named her a 5 under 35 honoree.


Bulawayo was born and raised in Zimbabwe and attended Njube High School and later Mzilikazi High School for her A-levels. She completed her college education in the US, studying at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Texas A&M University-Commerce and Southern Methodist University respectively. In 2010, she completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Cornell University, where her work was recognized with a Truman Capote Fellowship.

In 2011 she won the Caine Prize with her story “Hitting Budapest”, which had been published in the November/December 2010 issue of the Boston Review and became the opening chapter of her 2013 debut novel. We Need New Names was included in the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist, making Bulawayo the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the prize. She also won the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, among other accolades.

In 2011, it was reported that she had begun work on a memoir project. Bulawayo sat on the board of trustees of the pan-African literary initiative Writivism between 2014 and 2018.

Awards and honors


  • 2009: “Snapshots”, published in New Writing from Africa 2009 (J. M. Coetzee, ed.)
  • 2010: “Hitting Budapest”, published in Boston Review and The Caine Prize for African Writing 2011
  • 2013: We Need New Names

NoViolet 1

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