Petina Gappah became only the second short story writer to win the award in its 10-year history, the first being Yiyun Li in 2006. Gappah’s collection of 13 stories, An Elegy for Easterly, tells of the lives of people, rich and poor, caught up in events over which they have little control.
The Guardian’s literary editor, Claire Armitstead, who chaired the judging panel, said she was thrilled to name Gappah as winner, particularly since 2009 is the year of the short story. There had been some wonderful first books, she said, and “Petina Gappah’s humane and disarmingly funny mosaic of life in Zimbabwe is undoubtedly one of the very best.”
BOOK SA extends heartiest congratulations to the author. Well done!