Gappah shortlisted for world's richest short story contest

HARARE - Award-winning Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah is part of a 12-strong longlist for the 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

The winner, who will be announced on April 22, will receive £30 000 while five writers who will make the shortlist, to be unveiled on March 20, will each pocket £1,000.

Gappah, who is one of 12 writers from six countries and across four continents up for award, was considered on the strength of her story titled 'The News of Her Death.'

Other writers in contention for the world's richest prize for a single short story, are Nicholas Ruddock (Canada), Madhulika Liddle (India), Colum McCann (Republic of Ireland), Edith Pearlman (United States) as well as writers from the United Kingdom Deborah Levy and Jonathan Tel.

According to the organisers of the prestigious literary competition, “The themes and locations of the stories selected are as diverse as the authors themselves - the Cultural Revolution in China, the conflict in Kashmir, New York in the 1930s and the former East Berlin, ten years after the fall of the Wall. The stories are a mix of metafiction, fantasy, fairytale as well as poignant renderings of love and ageing.”

The competition’s judge Alex has been impressed by the quality of the stories that have made the longlist.

“The dozen stories on this year's longlist really take us places, whether it is the glamorously populated seafront in Nice, a sparsely inhabited Scottish island or a secret military base in China.

“These strikingly varied settings bring us the most intimate of human encounters, from the polyphonic chatter of women hairdressers in Harare to the silences and depths of a long marriage. It was a pleasure to read such original and ambitious work, and it will be a challenge to narrow the field down further,” he commented.

Gappah, who has law degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Graz, won the Guardian First Book Award in 2009. Her latest book titled ‘The Book of Memory’ has received international acclaim.

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