Award-winning author NoViolet Bulaweyo ’07 returns to SMU for 2014 Common Reading discussion Monday, Sept. 15

Acclaimed author NoViolet Bulawayo ’07 returns to the Hilltop to discuss We Need New Names – her award-winning first novel and the University’s 2014 Common Reading – with the Dallas community. Her talk will begin at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

The lecture and Q&A are free and open to the public.

Bulawayo, known to many at SMU by her given name of Elizabeth Tshele, earned her master’s degree in English from the University in 2007 after receiving her bachelor’s in English from Texas A&M University-Commerce. In 2010, she received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell as a Truman Capote Fellow. She recently completed a 2012-14 Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford.

Her pen name is a tribute both to her mother, who died when she was 18 months old (NoViolet means “with Violet” in her native Ndebele), and to her childhood home, the second-largest city in Zimbabwe.

“There’s a lot to be excited about,” says Senior Lecturer in English Diana Grumbles Blackman, director of SMU’s Discernment and Discourse Program and chair of the University’s Common Reading committee. “NoViolet is young, her star is rising, and we think students will be excited about where an SMU education might take them.”

Blackman never met Bulaweyo during her SMU student days, but “many, many of my colleagues are incredibly fond of her,” she says. “She has a lot of fans in the English Department, and they’re thrilled to see her back.”

SMU Magazine: Alumna traces career awakening to SMU

'We Need New Names' by NoViolet BulawayoWe Need New Names tells the story of 10-year-old Darling, a Zimbabwean girl whose unexpected opportunity to live in the United States turns out very differently from her fantasies. The semi-autobiographical first novel has received several prestigious awards and recognitions, including the 2014 PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction, the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, and the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature.

Additionally, Bulaweyo became the first black African woman to make the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize (in 2013) and made The New York Times’ 2013 Notable Books of the Year list, as well as National Public Radio’s “Great Reads of 2013.”

We Need New Names is only the second work of fiction chosen for the University’s Common Reading since the program began in 2004. The first, How to Be Good by Nick Hornby, was SMU’s Common Reading selection in 2007.

The novel is also the first Common Reading selection to be written by an SMU graduate.

Learn more from SMU’s Common Reading homepage:

UCLA mathematician to present free Collegium da Vinci lecture Sept. 23

UCLA mathematician Andrea BertozziTopics ranging from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the science of mapping crime hotstops will be up for discussion as SMU’s Collegium da Vinci welcomes Andrea Bertozzi. Bertozzi, professor of mathematics at the University of California-Los Angeles, will speak on “Mathematics in the Real World” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center.

Bertozzi will give the Collegium’s 2010 Allman Family Public Lecture, which is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-come first-served basis. To RSVP, contact Collegium, 214-768-1177.

Currently director of the UCLA Program in Computational and Applied Mathematics, Bertozzi serves on the editorial boards of Interfaces and Free Boundaries, Applied Mathematics Research eXpress, Nonlinearity, and Communications in the Mathematical Sciences. Her current research interests include image inpainting, image segmentation, cooperative control of robotic vehicles, swarming, mathematics of crime, and fluid interfaces.

A Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Bertozzi is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her past honors include a Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship and the Presidential Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the Office of Naval Research. She received her A.B., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Princeton.

Collegium da Vinci is a membership-only program of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and is dedicated to sophisticated scientific discussion. It presents a series of six lectures per year, featuring speakers “who have made great strides in various areas of the sciences,” according to its website. A tax-deductible portion of membership supports the Collegium and Dedman College programs in the sciences.

> Learn more about Collegium da Vinci at the Dedman College website