Ten-year-old Darling and her friends navigate their shantytown with the exuberance and mischievous spirit of children everywhere. But they are shadowed by memories of Before -- before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the schools closed, before their fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad. When Darling escapes to suburban America, she finds that—far from the comforts of her childhood community—America’s abundance is hard to reach, and she reckons alone with the sacrifices and mixed rewards of assimilating.
Channeling the rhythm and vibrancy of the storytellers who raised her in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo tells a potent story of displacement and arrival, at once disarmingly playful and devastatingly candid, with a power all its own.
NoViolet Bulawayo is the author of
We Need New Names (May 2013) which has been recognized with the
Los Angeles 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 shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and selected to the
New York Times Notable Books of 2013 list, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list, and others. NoViolet’s story “Hitting Budapest” won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.
NoViolet earned her MFA 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. NoViolet grew up in Zimbabwe.
Arturo Rivera was the owner of a construction company in Pátzcuaro, México. One day, as his beautiful 15-year-old daughter, Maribel, is helping him at a work site, she sustains an injury that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same again. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panamà, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Central and Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart. Suspenseful, funny and warm, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a new American classic.
Cristina Henríquez is the author of The Book of Unknown Americans, The World In Half, and
Come Together, Fall Apart: A Novella and Stories, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Glimmer Train, The American Scholar, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, and AGNI along with the anthology This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers. Cristina’s nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Oxford American, and Preservation as well as in the anthologies State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America and Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Women Writers Reflect on the Candidate and What Her Campaign Meant. She was featured in Virginia Quarterly Review as one of “Fiction’s New Luminaries,” has been a guest on National Public Radio, and is a recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award, a grant started by Sandra Cisneros in honor of her father. Cristina earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Chicago.
In regular life,
Bich Minh Nguyen often goes by the name Beth. She is the author of three books. Short Girls, a novel, was an American Book Award winner in fiction and a Library Journal best book of the year. Stealing Buddha's Dinner, a memoir, received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center and was a
Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year. Stealing Buddha's Dinner has been featured as a common read selection within numerous communities and universities. Nguyen's work has also appeared in publications including The New York Times and the FOUND Magazine anthology. Her most recent novel is Pioneer Girl. She is at work on a series of essays.Nguyen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and has taught fiction and creative nonfiction in the MFA Program at Purdue University and the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. She has also coedited three anthologies: 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years (Penguin Academic); Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye (Longman); and The Contemporary American Short Story(Longman). She and her family live in the Bay Area. A note on pronunciation: Bich is pronounced like "Bic"; Nguyen, the Smith of Viet Nam, is pronounced something like Ngoo-ee-ehn (said quickly, as in one syllable), but most people tend to say "Win" or "New-IN" instead.