Saturday, October 1, 2011
NoViolet is “with violet” at Cape Town’s Open Book Festival
picture: Oliver Nyambi with Noviolet
Noviolet Bulawayo demystified myths surrounding her name at the recently held Open Book Festival – Free the PEN Reading in Cape Town. Speaking after a reading of some of her poems and a short story, the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing winner and author of the astonishing “Hitting Budapest” allayed fears that her name was an attention-seeking gimmick. The bubbling writer who also teaches Creative Writing at Cornell University in New York unpacked the etymology of “NoViolet – which she says is actually a combination of two words in two languages, isiNdebele and English, translating literally into “with violet”. NoViolet shared the stage with world renowned Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace best known for his novel The Dragon Can’t Dance who, however, read from his recent hilarious novel Is Just a Movie. Also on stage with NoViolet was the Angolan Jose Eduardo Aqualusa whose chameleon narrator in his novel The Book of Chameleons left us itching for a copy. But it was NoViolet, young and armed with an amazing verbal artistry who stole the limelight and left no doubt that she is yet another big ‘thing’ to grace Zimbabwe’s literary scene from the diaspora. After her reading at the modestly packed Fugard Theatre, NoViolet socialised with Zimbabwean doctoral students at Stellenbosch University, Oliver Nyambi, Kizito Muchemwa, Faith Manyonga and Mickias Musiyiwa who were elated by her promise to unveil a novel and a memoir, soon. NoViolet’s short story is also part of the Caine Prize Shortlist Short Story anthology To See the Mountain and Other Stories. She will be in Zimbabwe over the end-of year festive season.
++By Oliver Nyambi, Stellenbosch, South Africa.