Petina Gappah

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Petina Gappah
Born Zimbabwe
Occupation Legal counsel
Language English
Nationality Zimbabwean
Alma mater University of Zimbabwe
University of Cambridge
University of Graz
Notable works An Elegy for Easterly
Notable awards Guardian First Book Award
Children 1 son

Petina Gappah, born 1971, is a Zimbabwean-born writer. She writes in English, though she also draws on Shona, her first language.[1]

Gappah's first book, An Elegy for Easterly, a story collection, was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the richest prize for the short story form.[2] The book has been described as "a collection of stories about every layer of Zimbabwean culture: from the educated and the elite to the quirky, the completely mad and the children running in the street."[3] The book was published by Faber and Faber in April 2009 in the United Kingdom and in June 2009 in the United States. It won the Guardian First Book Award in 2009, at which time she spoke of her objection to being labeled by her publisher (and subsequently Amazon) as "the voice of Zimbabwe"; she commented in an interview: "'It's very troubling to me because writing of a place is not the same as writing for a place.... If I write about Zimbabwe, it's not the same as writing for Zimbabwe or for Zimbabweans.'"[4]

Gappah has law degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Graz. She moved back to Harare, Zimbabwe in 2010 where she works on her first novel. According to her interview on BBC Radio 4 (05/04/2012) she has now completed her first novel.[5]


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