Petina Gappah

Untitled-1Who inspires you?
Definitely not politicians.

When are you happiest?
When I am with my son or when I am reading or when I am reading to my son.

Which book did you first read?
I do not remember the very first one, but the first book I ever owned was a Shona storybook that I won for coming top
of the year in Grade 2.

Do you read or sleep when you fly?
I read and make sure to watch films that received really bad reviews: better to watch them for free than pay to see

Do you have any tips for first time flyer?
Whatever you do, do not eat anything that looks even
remotely like shrimp. Trust me on this.

Where did you draw your inspiration for your coming novel?
From Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, one of the best novels ever published.

Which emerging writers should we look out for in the coming year?
I am looking forward to the amazing EC Osondu’s first book, a collection of short stories, which is to be published in 2010. I believe that Binyavanga Wainaina’s memoir about Kenya will also be published in 2010, although he will not thank you for saying he is “emerging”. And I am looking forward to Lola Shoneyin’s first novel: the title alone is worth buying the book for: “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives”. Brilliant.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Zanzibar and St Barts, which are perfect in my imagination as I have never been there.

BookPetina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University, and the University of Zimbabwe. Her short fiction and essays have been published in eight countries. She lives with her son Kush in Geneva, where she works as counsel in an international organisation that provides legal aid on international trade law to developing countries. Her story collection, An Elegy for Easterly is published by Faber in April 2009. She is currently completing The Book of Memory, her first novel. Both books will also be published in Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

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