We Need New Names

We Need New Names Study Guide

We Need New Names is a coming-of-age story. A young girl named Darling lives in poverty in Zimbabwe following political unrest. She often steals guavas along with a group of other children, one of whom is pregnant, and is forced to attend church on top of a tall nearby mountain with a woman called Mother of Bones. Partway through the novel, Darling is sent to America to live with her aunt and must grapple with the challenges of her new life.

We Need New Names is the debut novel of Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo. The novel was released in 2013 to immediate critical acclaim. Among the honors Bulawayo received for this work were the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. She made the competitive 2013 fiction lists for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award's "5 Under 35," the Guardian First Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award.