Mufaro copy

In Conversation

An exclusive discussion with the playwright Mufaro Makubika, interviewed by Angharad Jones of Fifth Word Theatre Company.

‘In Conversation’

with Mufaro Makubika

Nottingham-based playwright Mufaro Makubika is to adapt NoViolet Bulawayo’s ‘Man Booker Prize’ shortlisted We Need New Names for the stage, in a world premiere commissioned by East Midlands theatre company Fifth Word. Running through all Fifth Word’s commissions and productions is the commitment to engage audiences and communities with work that is relevant, accessible and meaningful to them. As part of this goal, Nottingham City Libraries hosted an exclusive talk with the playwright on the 19th of April at 7pm. You can watch the stream by visiting our Facebook Page from the day. Or alternatively, you can watch the stream on this page.

We need new names

More about the Novel – We Need New Names

“There are times, though, that no matter how much food I eat, I find the food does nothing for me, like I am hungry for my country and nothing is going to fix that”

In a shanty called Paradise, Darling and her friends spend their days stealing guavas and singing Lady Gaga, all the while grasping at memories of life before and dreaming of escape – a dream that one day comes true for Darling. But, as Darling discovers, her new life is a far cry from what she imagined, and this new world brings with it dangers of its own…

We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (2013), the Guardian First Book Award and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Award finalist. It was the winner of the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature, and won the prestigious Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for debut work of fiction. It won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

‘‘Sometimes shocking, often heartbreaking but also pulsing with colour and energy”  – The Times.


More about Mufaro Makubika

Mufaro Makubika is an award-winning playwright who lives and works in Nottingham. Mufaro’s recent play ‘Shebeen’ won the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award for the best new play and was produced to critical acclaim by Nottingham Playhouse and Theatre Royal Stratford East in June 2018, directed by Matthew Xia and with a cast that included Martina Laird and Karl Collins.

“Makubika’s writing is sometimes raw and occasionally brutal, yet it’s also full of tenderness and joy … A Knockout” ★★★★.  The Times on ‘Shebeen’.

Words from Mufaro

“Arriving in the UK as an immigrant from Zimbabwe at the age of 16, I identify strongly with the story of Darling and her journey. When I first read We Need New Names it felt as though someone was writing my life down on the page; there is a recognition of self and there is a beauty in seeing that being expressed. For me, bringing We Need New Names to live audiences in the theatre is part of me still trying to figure out who I am, how to understand my place, and what to call myself here in the United Kingdom. With Zimbabwe and other countries still in the midst of a long and seemingly-unending turmoil there will be many more immigrants from Zimbabwe moving to different parts of the world and I want to make audiences more conscious of that journey.”

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