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KVCC Alumna, Oprah “Must-Read” Author Feature of Book Signing
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Contributed by Dawn M. Kemp, Public Information Specialist- Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Kalamazoo Valley Alumni, Author NoViolet Bulawayo, Plans July 30 Book Signing on Campus

KALAMAZOO (MICH.)-NoViolet Bulawayo, author of “We Need New Names” will be featured at a book signing event at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30 at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in the Student Commons Theater at the Texas Township Campus. The Kalamazoo Valley alumna will read and autograph copies of her book which was released by Reagan Arthur Books in May. Oprah included the book on her list of “Nine Must-Read Books for June 2013.”

Bulawayo won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and her work has been published in numerous anthologies, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Newsweek.

She was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives in the U.S. She graduated from Kalamazoo Valley in May 2003 and went on to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Cornell University, where she was recognized with a Truman Capote Fellowship. She is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

“We’re proud of all of our graduates and NoViolet is no exception. I’ve read “We Need New Names.” It is an inspiring story and powerful book,” said Kalamazoo Valley Community College President Marilyn Schlack. “We are so glad that she has returned to campus to share her encouraging story with the community.”

Publishers Weekly said this about the book:

… Indeed the first half of the book, which follows a group of destitute but fearless children in a ravaged, never-named African country, is a remarkable piece of literature. Ten-year-old Darling is Virgil, leading us through Paradise, the shantytown where she and her friends Bastard, Godknows, Sbho, and Stina live and play. “Before,” they lived in real houses and went to school—that is, before the paramilitary policemen came and destroyed it all, before AIDS, before Darling’s friend Chipo was impregnated by her own grandfather. Now they roam rich neighborhoods, stealing bull guavas and hiding in trees while gangs raid white homes. Darling and her friends invent new names for themselves from American TV and spent their time trying to get “rid of Chipo’s stomach.” Abruptly, Darling lands with her aunt in America, seen as an ugly place, and absorbs the worst of its culture—Internet porn, obscene consumerism, the depreciation of education. Darling may not be worse off, but her life has not improved in any meaningful way. When Bulawayo won the Caine Prize, she said, “I want to go and write from home. It’s a place which inspires me. I don’t feel inspired by America at all,” and the chapters set outside of Africa make this abundantly clear. In this promising novel’s early chapters, Bulawayo’s use of English is disarmingly fresh, her arrangement of words startling.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the campus bookstore beginning on July 18.  Bulawayo will be available to sign autographs after her presentation.  “We’re excited that NoViolet is returning to campus,” said Bonita Bates, director of Kalamazoo Valley’s Transfer Resource Services and Focus Program.  Bulawayo maintained contact with Bates after she left Kalamazoo. She also wrote a poem for the Focus Program which Bates still keeps in her office. “We’re so proud of her success and excited about the opportunity to help share her writing with all of Kalamazoo.” Bates said.

The event is free and the public is invited to attend the program on July 30.  For more information, contact Linda Depta, Director of College Relations at 269-373.7847.

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