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petina gappah - by Cynthia R. Matonhodze for The New York Times

Petina Gappah. Credit: Cynthia R. Matonhodze for The New York Times.

Petina Gappah has a new interview in The Guardian UK, and in it she talks about her most recent book, the novel Out of Darkness, Shining Light (2019), which tells the story of the people who carried the 19th century explorer David Livingstone’s body to the ocean. She explains her research process, how she created the characters’ voices and came up with the title, and why she learned Swahili in order to write the novel over the 20 years it took.

Gappah also mentions fellow Zimbabweans Tsitsi Dangarembga (also recently interviewed in The Guardian) and the late Charles Mungoshi as influences, reveals that she’s currently reading plays by Harold Pinter and Wole Soyinka, that she’s looking forward to Hilary Mantel’s anticipated final Thomas Cromwell novel The Mirror and the Light, and that she admires Zadie Smith and Teju Cole.

Credit: The New York Times.

The Zimbabwean writer, named Brittle Paper‘s African Literary Person of the Year in 2016, is the author of the novel The Book of Memory (2015) and of the story collections Elegy for Easterly (2009), which won the Guardian Best First Book Award, and Rotten Row (2016).

Read the lovely interview HERE.

Buy Out of Darkness, Shining Light HERE.

 

 

Graph image by Cynthia R. Matonhodze for The New York Times.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction 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 Curator at 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 work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. 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 has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. 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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