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Petina Gappah. Image from Guardian UK.

Petina Gappah is working on a series, what she calls the Rhodesia Trilogy. The Zimbabwean writer and novelist, whose short story, “The News of Her Death,” was named by Sunday Times in their “100 Greatest Short Stories of All-Time,” shared the information on Facebook.

Rhodesia was one of the colonial names of Zimbabwe—Southern Rhodesia was another—from 1898 to its independence in 1980. Gappah’s three published books—the short story collections An Elegy for Easterly (2009) and Rotten Row (2016) and the novel The Book of Memory (2015)—constitute her Zimbabwe Trilogy.

“While I was away from social media, and waiting on final edits, I started working on my next book,” she wrote. “It is actually BOOKS. Having done what I call the Zimbabwe Trilogy (Easterly, Memory, Rotten Row) I am working now on what I call the Rhodesia Trilogy, a series about different members of the same family, mhuri yemabhazi, one of the first black middle class families of Rhodesia.”

She is working on all three books simultaneously and gives a picture of what they will look like: “One is a comedy centering on a grandchild of the family, an inheritor of the middle class, one is a tragedy centering on a daughter of the family, with all her middle class anxieties, and the third is an epic centering on a man who marries into the family while coming from dire poverty.”

After the Rhodesia Trilogy, she will add another book, a prequel “set over 400 years of the Mutapa Empire,” which will link the major players in her novels—The Book of Memory and the yet unpublished Out of the Dark, Shining Light.

This is all making sense.

Meanwhile, the title story of Gappah’s Rotten Row will be reissued by Faber & Faber as part of the publishing company’s 90th anniversary celebrations in 2019.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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