Writer in Residence Programme 2011

Petina Gappah is WIR in Amsterdam

15 Jul-31 August 2011

Petina Gappah is the Zimbabwean writer of the book An Elegy for Easterly, published by Faber and Faber in April 2009. It was awarded the Guardian First Book Award and it has been longlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing.

In Dutch, it has been published by Mouria as De danskampioen en andere verhalen uit Zimbabwe (vertaler: Kees Mollema). In addition, Gappah has written essays on Zimbabwe for newspapers such as the Guardian, the Sunday Times South Africa and the Zimbabwe Times. After a career as a lawyer in Geneva, Gappah currently lives in Harare, from where she writes, travels and chairs the Board of the Harare City Library. For Gappah short fiction was the perfect form to tell the story of a troubled but irrepressible country. Her many characters may have ordinary hopes and dreams, but they are living in a world where a loaf of bread costs half a million dollars; a country expected to have only four presidents in a hundred years; and a place where people know exactly what will be printed in the one and only daily newspaper because the news is always, always good.

During the summer period in Amsterdam Gappah intends to further develop her interest in writing about something very different, namely art. She will research the African presence in the work of the Dutch Masters as she intends to write either a short story or feature length article on this subject. She wrote a similar article before on the little-known English painter John Simpson for Tate Etc, one of Europe’s largest art magazines.

Fleur van Koppen


Fleur van Koppen

Programme officer

[email protected]