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Hay Festival #6: NoViolet Bulawayo and Meike Ziervogel

The last of my blatherings on Hay Festival 2013; I’ve saved the heart-breakers until last.

NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo: Revisiting and celebrating her childhood in Zimbabwe.

NoViolet Bulawayo and Meike Ziervogel both delve into national traumas in their recent novels and both do so through a child’s point of view. On the final day at Hay I attended their emotionally charged event, which was introduced by Gaby Wood.

In NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, 10-year-old Darling lives in a shanty named Paradise and, through her eyes, we glimpse the turmoil of Zimbabwe’s recent history. According to the author, ‘A child’s eye view depoliticises events and suspends my own belief. You have to tone it down; readers can easily be put off. But it was also fun because it allowed me to return to my childhood. It was a celebration.’ Read more