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Stanford Writers in Conversation: An Evening with NoViolet Bulawayo

EVT 927
Apr 12
7:15 pm
Status: No Registration Required

Each program in this series will bring to center stage a distinguished author from the Stanford community. We will discuss a fiction writer’s process—from the genesis of an idea, to the nuts and bolts of the prose’s inner workings, to the editing and publication process—and engage the local community in a lively question-and-answer session. The program will be hosted by Sara Houghteling, former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies.

An Evening with NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo’s prize-winning debut novel, We Need New Names, etches the backdrop of a Zimbabwe roiled by Robert Mugabe’s murderous dictatorship. In a shantytown called Paradise, ten-yearold Darling’s quests—to steal food, to find her father, to help an abused friend—illuminate both her terrible vulnerability and her profound resilience. When Darling emigrates to “Destroyedmichygen” (Detroit, Michigan), Bulawayo captures, as Uzodinma Iweala writes in The New York Times, “the uneasiness that accompanies a newcomer’s arrival in America,” and reveals “how the reinvention of the self in a new place confronts the protective memory of the way things were back home.” Edwidge Danticat praises this book as “filled with an equal measure of beauty and horror and laughter and pain” and Michiko Kakutani calls it “deeply felt and fiercely written.”

Over the course of the evening, Bulawayo will discuss the essential tools of the writer’s craft—voice, plot, structure, point of view—as well as share her personal insights into the process of writing about politics and place. Avid readers and aspiring writers alike will gain fresh insights into the art of fiction during this engaging discussion with one of this generation’s finest new literary voices.

NoViolet Bulawayo, Jones Lecturer in Fiction; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel We Need New Names received the LA Times Book Prize for First Fiction, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” award. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and included in The New York Times Notable Books of 2013 list, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list, and others. Her story “Hitting Budapest” won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing. Bulawayo was born and raised in Zimbabwe and received an MFA from Cornell and a Truman Capote Fellowship.

Sara Houghteling, Former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies, Stanford

Sara Houghteling is the author of Pictures at an Exhibition, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2009 Book, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship, an NEA Fellowship, a Camargo Fellowship, the Ribalow Prize, and the Wallant Award. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
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