All Animals Are Not Equal

NoViolet Bulawayo and Priya Bains

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Arrangert avLitteraturhuset

NoViolet Bulawayo and Priya Bains

In the novel Glory, we find ourselves in the fictional country Jidada, which is peopled with all kinds of animals; bleating sheep, a confident pig preacher, vicious dogs making up the country’s security forces, and at the very top: the Old Horse, who has ruled the country with an iron hoof ever since independence. He is «the longest-serving leader in a continent of long-serving leaders, and indeed in the whole wide world».

Author NoViolet Bulawayo has drawn inspiration both from George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm and the African tradition of animal fables in her allegorical story of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s fall.

In a bubbling and playful language, where satirical quips, twitter updates and razor sharp observations all follow each other, Bulawayo tells the story of the coup against Mugabe as it plays out among the animals on the Seat of Power as well as among the public. Through the goat Destiny, returned after years in exile, we get an outsider’s view on the events, and in a vivid mother-daughter portrait, we follow Destiny and her mother in a journey back to a part of the country’s bloody history that has long been silenced.

The result is a masterly satirical story in which Bulawayo explores universal themes such as freedom and repression, hope and justice, showing us how the story is relevant far beyond the borders of Zimbabwe, in a world where authoritarianism is on the rise.

Writer NoViolet Bulawayo is the first African woman to appear on the prestigious Booker list twice, first for her 2013 debut We Need New Names and then for her second novel Glory in 2022. She has taught creative writing at Stanford for many years, and her own writing has earned her a number of prizes and accolades.

At the House of Literature, Bulawayo is joined by poet and writer Priya Bains for a conversation about fables and animals, literary playfulness, and Zimbabwe’s recent history.

The event is supported by NORAD and will be in English.

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