Gappah launches third book

HARARE - Guardian First Book Award winner Petina Gappah has launched a collection of short stories which she titled Rotten Row after the Harare road on which the Magistrate’s Courts are located.

Gappah, who was longlisted for this year’s Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, confirmed the launch of the book made up of 20 stories about crime on her Facebook page.

“It’s official! Rotten Row is launched,” she wrote without giving further details.

But in an earlier Facebook post, the award-winning writer described Rotten Row, published by Faber & Faber, as a “joy.”

“I started the book in February 2014. I finished it in February 2016. Unlike the Book of Memory, every moment was a joy, all 74 000 words of it.

“For the very first time in my short life as a writer, I knew exactly what I was doing (the first book was an accident, the second a tortured obligation),” wrote Gappah on Facebook.

Faber & Faber, whose illustrious list of authors includes 12 Nobel Laureates and six Booker Prize winners, declares in the book’s blurb:

“Petina Gappah crosses the barriers of class, race, gender and sexual politics in Zimbabwe to explore the causes and effects of crime, and to meditate on the nature of justice.

“Rotten Row represents a leap in artistry and achievement from the award-winning author of An Elegy for Easterly and The Book of Memory. With compassion and humour, Petina Gappah paints portraits of lives aching for meaning to produce a moving and universal tableau.”

Rotten Row is the third book by Gappah, who has law degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Cambridge and the University of Graz.

Her first book An Elegy for Easterly won the Guardian First Book Award in 2009 while her second The Book of Memory continues to receive international acclaim.

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