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.