- Category: TOW 2011
PETINA GAPPAH was born in Kitwe, Zambia and is a Zimbabwean lawyer and writer. She was educated at the University of Zimbabwe, Cambridge University and the University of Graz in Austria, where she received a PhD in international trade law.
Gappah has spent her professional life in Geneva, Switzerland where she has worked as an international trade lawyer at the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as at the Advisory Centre on WTO Law, an organization that gives legal advice on trade law to developing countries.
An Elegy for Easterly is Gappah’s first book. 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 children running in the street, An Elegy for Easterly is a collection of short stories which has been critically acclaimed in every country in which the book has been published.
An Elegy for Easterly has been published in six languages, with another six forthcoming translations and has been shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Gappah also writes a regular column on Zimbabwean politics and society for the South African Sunday Times and book reviews for the Observer and the Times of London. She has also written on art for the magazine of Tate Britain.
Gappah is a member of Zimbabwe’s National Arts Council and sits on the committee of the Harare City Library.
Of her writing, Gappah says: “I write because the worlds in my head are as real to me as the world of my body. I love to read and so I write because I want to move people and make them laugh, because I want to take people out of themselves, if only for the length of the shortest story.”
She is currently on sabbatical leave in Zimbabwe where she is writing her first novel.
An Elegy for Easterly, Faber and Faber, 2009.