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Faith Mkwesha


This interview was conducted on 16 May 2009 at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa. Petina Gappah is the third generation of Zimbabwean writers writing from the diaspora. She was born in 1971 in Zambia, and grew up in Zimbabwe during the transitional moment from colonial Rhodesia to independence. She has law degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Graz. She writes in English and also draws on Shona, her first language. She has published a short story collection An Elegy for Easterly (2009), first novel The Book of Memory (2015), and another collection of short stories, Rotten Row (2016).  Gappah’s collection of short stories An Elegy for Easterly (2009) was awarded The Guardian First Book Award in 2009, and was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the richest prize for the short story form. Gappah was working on her novel The Book of Memory at the time of this interview.

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