Junot Díaz writes of Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, "I knew this writer was going to blow up. Her honesty, her voice, her formidable command of her craft, all were apparent from the first page, but it's only when you reach the haunting conclusion of 'Hitting Budapest' that you realize just how tremendously talented NoViolet is."
The Gina Berriault Award for 2018 is being given to NoViolet Buyawayo by the SF State Department of Creative Writing, and the long-lived SF State literary journal Fourteen Hills. The award was inaugurated by former SF State Professor Peter Orner in conjunction with Fourteen Hills Press to pay homage to the writer Gina Berriault, who taught at San Francisco State and who with every story embodied a certain selflessness and unflinching compassion. The award is given annually to a writer with a similar spirit who has shown a love for storytelling and a commitment to supporting emerging writers. Past recipients include Cristina García, Yiyun Li and Adam Johnson.
This reading and celebration, followed by a conversation with the audience, was co-sponsored by the SF State Department of Creative Writing, Fourteen Hills, and The Poetry Center.
NoViolet Bulawayo (nom de plume for Elizabeth Zandile Tshele) is the author of the novel We Need New Names (2013), which has been recognized with the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place), and the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection. We Need New Names was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and selected to the New York Times Notable Books of 2013 list, and the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list, among others. Her story “Hitting Budapest” (which became the opening chapter of her novel) won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Bulawayo, who grew up in Zimbabwe, earned her Master of Fine Arts at Cornell University where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she now teaches as a Jones Lecturer in Fiction.
Note: at the author's request, this program was not recorded.