Sneak Peek: ‘In The Days of Miracle And Wonder’ by Petina Gappah

We are beyond thrilled to be launching our new series, Sneak Peek with an excerpt from Heaven Is A Library: A Memoir by the award-winning and critically acclaimed Petina Gappah, author of the short story collections, An Elegy for Easterly and Rotten Row as well as the novels, Out of Darkness, Shining Light and The Book of Memory. It is particularly auspicious that we are sharing excerpts from a memoir which opens at the dawn of Zimbabwe’s independence with Bob Marley front and center at a time when the biopic, Bob Marley: One Love is doing wonders at the box office. The stars are aligned. Enjoy and pre-order your copies now.

(Excerpt from Heaven Is A Library: A Memoir, forthcoming from House of Books, June 2024)




The first two years of my education were also the last two years of Rhodesia’s war.

The war was being fought far away, on the war front in Mozambique and in the rural areas, from training camps set up in Tanzania and in Zambia, the land of my birth, far from our family in the township of Glen Norah. Still, the war came to us every night as my father fiddled with our radio receiver to catch the shortwave transmission from Radio Mozambique.

Through the crackling static of the transmission came frenetic drumbeats. Then an announcer’s voice, speaking emphatically, with dramatic pauses before every word.

‘This Is The Voice Of Zimbabwe.’

Then the song that all the township children came to know so well, the closest we would get to war:

Kune nzira dzamasoja dzekuzvibatanadzo.

Tererai mitemo yose nenzira dzakanaka.‘

We repeated that song in the school playground, not knowing that it was an adaptation of Mao Zedong’s Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention: ‘Be honest in buying and selling, return everything you borrow, pay compensation for everything you damage, do not hit or swear at others, do not damage crops, do not harass women and do not mistreat prisoners.’ These principles, translated into Shona and set in song, were the code of conduct for the Zanla, a group of fighters led by Mugabe, who along with the Zipra, forces led by Joshua Nkomo, fought the armed struggle for black majority rule in Rhodesia.

It was through this transmission that Robert Mugabe came into my life and entered my imagination as the embodiment of the struggle for independence.  I did not understand everything he said, but I remember that he called us always the people, not of Rhodesia, but Zimbabwe. This reminder, that this was a battle for a new country, and a new way to be in the world, was emphasised by the words that concluded each broadcast.

‘People of Zimbabwe! Victory Is Certain.’

The war came to us in other ways. A guerrilla escaped from somewhere, and Rhodesian soldiers followed him to Glen Norah. They chased him up the stairs of our block of flats. My mother hustled us back into our flat.  I was with my mother when the news reached us that Josiah Magama Tongogara, the military commander of the Zanla forces, had died.  I remember the day the news came, over the radio in our living room. My mother was ironing. When his death was announced, my mother exclaimed, put the iron down and her hand over her mouth as she sat down. Her grieving shock was so penetrating that in my confusion, I thought she had lost another of her brothers.

Mugabe was right to say victory was certain.

Victory finally came after a ceasefire that ended the war. While the men who led the war sat down to negotiations at Lancaster House in London to chart the path for the new country, in Zimbabwe, our families counted the cost of victory. Everyone from everywhere was touched by the sorrow and pitiless waste of war. Thirty thousand people, one report estimated, were killed in the fourteen years of the war. Young men and women who lost their lives, many going to war as teenagers, villagers cruelly killed as “sell-outs” for supporting the wrong side, the thousands bombed in the Nyadzonia and Chimoio refugee camps on the Mozambican border, the priests and missionaries killed, the Viscount Hunyani, a plane downed with an anti-air missile on its way to the capital, killing 48, many of them children,

On all sides, loss and heartache as a country was birthed in blood.

The victory had more direct consequences for my family. After the elections in March 1980, I sat with my parents and younger siblings as Mugabe addressed us again, this time, not as a fugitive fighter speaking on radio from Mozambique, but from our free soil, on television, as prime minister of our new country. There was that voice again, but there was a face to go with it too, not that of a fearsome gorilla, which is how I had heard the word guerrilla, but of a man in large glasses who wore a safari suit like my father’s.

‘Surely,’ he said, ‘this is the time to beat our swords into ploughshares. We should become Zimbabweans with a single loyalty, to our nation, and to a common interest.’

My parents went to the independence concert at which Bob Marley was to sing. My father wore a beige safari suit with a navy-blue cravat with little white dots on it. My mother wore a pink short-sleeved slacksuit and beige ankle boots, a daring outfit for a married township woman.  We all knew Bob Marley: his song ‘Zimbabwe’ had electrified the township in the year before independence.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that if Prime Minister Mugabe had had his way, instead of Bob Marley’s ‘Fire, it’s the fire, the fire that’s burning down everything’, it may well have been Cliff Richard’s dulcet crooning that heralded the birth of our nation. It is perhaps just as well that he did not get his way because Cliff Richard lyrics like ‘I’ve got myself a walking, talking, sleeping, waking, living doll’, and ‘You’re so square, but baby, I don’t’ care’ would not have sounded quite the right notes to begin our life as a stalwart of the Non-Aligned Movement and socialist republic built on Marxist-Leninist lines.

Then again, ‘’All I have to do is dream,’ may have been just the ticket.

Prince Charles was there to lower the Union Flag on  behalf of the Crown. Prime Minister Mugabe raised high on the flagpole the mureza for which the Chimurenga had been fought, a flag of riotous colour and histrionic symbolism: red for the blood that was shed in the war, black for the population that now had majority rule, green for the verdant land we shared, yellow for the mineral resources beneath that land, a white triangle for peace, and, sitting in the triangle, as the symbol of the richness of our history and heritage, a fish eagle mounted on a stone base, the image of one of the stone birds found in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, the ancient city state that gave our new country an old name.

In a moment of pure bathos, the first words said in independent Zimbabwe, after the lowering of the flag of conquest and the raising of the flag of freedom were: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Marley and the Wailers!’

We children did not go to the concert, but Bob Marley came to us all the same. His name soon made his way into our games. A new version of the popular clapping song ‘Amina Kadeya’ soon made its way around the townships: ‘Bob Marley akapinda muZimbabwe achiimba achiti: Amina, amina kadeya. Simoheya. Amina wandishamisa. P.O Box Marandellas, Marandellas, Gumpepe, gumpepe, gumpepe, Amina ju jekiseni.’

I could not translate this rhyme if I wanted to because I never understood it, being, like a ngano chorus, one of those meaningless songs that are sung for the pleasure of the sound of the words, and not for their meaning.

My father welcomed independence because he had a simple dream: to own a house in the suburbs and get better education for his children.  At Barclays Bank, he processed mortgage applications and knew intimately the suburbs of Salisbury from the paperwork he processed each week.  On Sundays, he drove us to see the suburbs that appeared in his paperwork. Up and down Salisbury Drive we drove, in the Peugeot 404, as my father pointed out the houses we would live in one day. They had names that seemed like dreams: Alexandra Park, Greystone Park, Borrowdale and Mount Pleasant, Ashdown Park, and Cotswold Hills.

It was to Cotswold Hills that we moved, Cotswold Hills that presented to us the promise of independence.





It was agreed that at midnight on 17 April 1980, Zimbabwe would gain its independence. The government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia gave over its powers back to the Crown, and from January until the new election, those three months, Lord Nicholas Soames took up a position as the last Governor General of Rhodesia, with one clear mandate, to deliver the country’s first democratic elections based on universal suffrage.

The atmosphere in the township was electric as political parties vied with each other for votes. I remember vividly that Bishop Abel Muzorewa came to the Glen Norah B flats to campaign before the elections in March 1980. He spoke into a handheld megaphone from the back of a truck and wore a white clerical collar and a dark suit. His supporters danced around the truck and threw packets of crisps into the gathering crowd as Muzorewa talked about all the schools and the prosperity that his party, the United National African Congress was going to bring.

My sister Regina and I were excited to receive the crisps, not only because they were a rare treat but we because we could play with the packets afterwards. Willard’s crisps came in different flavours – tomato sauce, salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, beef and tomato. We collected the packets and made a song from the names of the characters at the back of the packets: ‘ZsaZsa the Scarlet, Mama Chompkins, Putzi the dog, Professor Flubb, Jake the Pirate, Hairy the Hippy.’

Muzorewa got only three seats, losing catastrophically to Robert Mugabe, who became the new Prime Minister. As with every event in the township, Muzorewa’s loss inspired a mocking song, that we sang without understanding its meaning: ‘Three seats, three seats, Dzakutsaku, three seats.’

Finally the winds of change that had blown first in Ghana when the decolonisation movement began in 1952, made their way south down to Rhodesia, the last outpost of empire in Africa.

The winds of change blew us out of our township and into the suburbs.

The winds of changed blew me into the Queen Victoria Memorial Library.




On a rainy day in December, in the first year of our independence, just three days before Christmas, my parents took possession of the house at 21 John Gleig Avenue that had been owned by Mr. and Mrs Spoor and their family in the former whites-only suburb of Cotswold Hills.  While my father and mother packed up our flat in Glen Norah, we spent the day a short distance away in the township of Glen View with our mother’s sister, Mainini’Mai’Libby, who fed us as many fettkoeks as we wanted any time that we asked for them. I had read a story that month in school, in which a girl had said on approaching a house – ‘What a beautiful house!’

Those, I decided, were the words that I would say when I first saw our new house. In the end, I did not say them. By the time my parents finished unpacking and came to fetch us, it was late at night. It was also raining, so we were woken from sleeping in the car, dashed from the carport to the house in the rain, and straight to bed. Exploring had to wait until the next morning.

We woke up in paradise.

Ratiel, being the only boy then, until my brother Uchi was born, had his own room, Regina and I shared a room, but we each had our own new beds. Vimbayi then just one, slept in a cot in my parents’ bedroom, which had an en suite bathroom, a phrase so exotic we called it just that, the en suite bathroom. Outside, we had a front and back garden, with trees that we could climb. And flowers, so many flowers in the garden, that I made up a game called ‘Among the flowers’, where we chased each other as we darted from rose bush to rose bush and, when caught, the caught person had to shout, ‘Among the flowers!’

Lucky Spoors!

They had a dog. The sign on the gate of the house said, ‘Beware of the dog, bassopo la inja,’ the last not being in Shona, the language we spoke, but in Chilapalapa, a language that white people had made up to give commands to their domestic servants, making it clear for whom the sign was intended. The Spoor dog liked to bury toys, so all around the garden were buried plastic soldiers, rubber balls and large marbles which we kept finding, digging up like treasure, cleaning and lining them up on the windowsills of our new bedrooms.

In Cotswold Hills, milkmen deposited milk outside our house, bottles with gold and silver tops, so there was always milk at home. There was still more milk at school, every child got a small sachet of milk at breaktime.   There was a public swimming pool, and a pool at the school, and many of the houses had their own pools.

We had a fridge full of good things to eat, and, on television, adverts told us what to buy to make our lives complete. Our lives now reflected the television adverts we watched in our maroon carpeted living room. Our cereal was Pronutro, the ‘balance of nature’.  On our bread we spread Solo, the ‘margarine for families with an appetite for life.’ We went home ‘to mum and Royco soup, tasty Royco, made of the good things you would choose’. And black children like my siblings and me flashed Colgate smiles, and, in the dubbed voices of white children said, ‘Look Mr. Sitali, I’ve got strong teeth.’




We settled into our new lives quickly enough to look beyond our gates as we got to know our neighbours. The people of Cotswold Hills took great pride in their aspirationally named suburb, often referring to it as the most upmarket section of the wider suburb of Mabelreign.  For all that, Cotswold Hills, like the rest of Mabelreign, was a lower middle-class suburb. It was not for the elite, like Highlands, Borrowdale, Greystone Park and Ballantyne Park. For bank tellers like my father, teachers like Mr and Mrs Chadyiwa at Number 24, Mr and Mrs Sithole at Number 26, Mr. Glover at Number 24, policemen like Sergeant Mapfumo opposite us, and nurses like Miss Mutumwa at Number 1, Cotswold Hills was the major league, a major step up from the townships. Like The Jeffersons, whose antics entertained us weekly, they were moving on up, moving on up.

It took a whole lot of trying, just to get to Cotswold Hills.

They’d finally got a piece of the pie.

If I close my eyes and imagine our street, it comes back to me, complete in every detail, down to how each living room, the proud showcase in every home was decorated, and what ornaments were in the glass display cabinets.  Miss Mutumwa who lived at Number 1 was a nurse who had worked in England and was the single mother to two daughters, Hazel and Sandra. Her display cabinet, unlike ours, with its clay miniature guinea fowl sitting on crocheted doilies that were rigid from starch, was filled with what we called England things; Buckingham Palace knickknacks, red London buses, Big Ben models, and she and her children wore clothes in thick fabrics like velvet and corduroy that were made in England.  My father found a distant family connection to her, but she insisted that she was not to be called Vatete in the Karanga way, but “Auntie” in the English way. ‘Come to Auntie,’ she used to say as she opened up her arms and swooped us up, which of course we found exotic enough to incorporate into our games.

We were unfortunate in our immediate neighbour at Number 19. He was a mechanic, a sour looking white man with a mean dog.  His gardener often beat up his wife so badly that her screams came over our shared wall and into our house. On one day, my father went to restrain him and warn him that the police would be called. The mechanic came out of the main house and shouted at my father.  He didn’t like kaffirs who trespassed on his property, he said, what happened at his house was his business – kaffir in Rhodesia was the equivalent of America’s ‘N word’. My father made a report, nothing happened, and the woman’s wails continued to reach our house until the mechanic moved away.

Opposite us at Number 20 lived the Mapfumo girls; Naome, Hilda, Clara and Patience. Their father, a widower, was a policeman. When our shared bicycle was stolen outside the OK supermarket at the Mabelreign shops, Regina went to the police to report it to their father. It was not a child’s bike but my mother’s old bike from Gutu, and we learned to negotiate it, unable to sit on it so we only ever rode it standing up. The police drove her back home in a police car.

At Number 24 lived the Glovers. Mr. Glover, a tall, straight-backed man was the headmaster at Harare High School in Mbare, the oldest black township, which he had whipped to be one of the best government schools in the country. His daughter Tracy was a student at the elite Arundel school. We only ever saw her coming to and from school, carrying a large satchel of books and an even larger sports bag rammed with hockey sticks and tennis rackets. She was reputed to be one of the best students at her school. Mrs Glover was a homemaker who wore a flowered housecoat like Hyacinth Bucket on Keeping Up Appearances.  They had a Labrador called Tessa Sanderson, named after the British athlete who was the first black woman to win Olympic gold.  Tracy learned to drive at the age of sixteen, and I have a vivid memory of her reversing the car into the outside section of our driveway and almost hitting our gate while her father, who was teaching her to drive, waved his arms in alarm and she shouted, ‘I’m doing it, I’m doing it!’ the only words I remember hearing from her the whole time we lived opposite them.

The Glovers were the nicest white family we knew. Mr Glover being headmaster of Harare High in Mbare was an unusual post for a white teacher. He had my father’s passion for education and after I cracked the top grades at A-level, he surprised me by giving me two kisses of congratulations on the cheek and told me that he was proud of me.

We knew their son Bruce better than Tracy who was far too old to be our friend. He was a sweet natured, mild-mannered boy, and my brother Ratiel’s friend. In the first few weeks of their friendship, they didn’t introduce themselves to each other by name, Ratiel not being able to speak English and Bruce not speaking Shona.  So Bruce would come to our house whenever he wanted to play, and shout through the kitchen door, ‘My friend! My friend!’ We instantly struck up a friendship with Sergeant Mapfumo’s daughters, a friendship sustained to this day, and which was fuelled by the township games we imported into Cotswold Hills. We could not do kudhaya, a thrilling spinning game we played with big truck wheels, taking turns to lie on the inside of the wheel while being spun around. We could not play rakaraka or dunhu, but we could play nhodo. Instead of digging holes in the ground like we did in the township, we used chalk to draw circles on our new driveways and play with marbles.

As we made more and more friends both in the neighbourhood and school, we fell prey to the childhood crazes of the time. One term it was silkworms that we kept in shoe boxes and fed on Mulberry leaves until my horrified mother found them but by then they were dead because I had chosen to see if mango tree leaves could work as well as Mulberry leaves.

There was a tree planting craze that saw me plant a mango tree in our garden, just before the wall that partitioned our house from that of the horrible mechanic at Number 19, much to the irritation of my father. I was not to plant anything without his permission, he said. I was terrified that he would uproot it, but I am happy to say that the tree is still in the garden of our old house, and it has provided the backdrop to many a photograph.

My siblings and I were mad about tennis, but we had just one tennis racket between us, a wooden Slazenger with a blue handle. We shared it like we did our bicycle, which was as well because we played tennis at school on different days. When we practiced tennis in the driveway at home, we used a plank ripped from the wooden dog kennel that had housed the Spoor dog and which my father converted into his tool shed, taking turns to swap between the plank and the racket. During tadpole season, we caught tadpoles and kept them in glass jars. From the Archie comics, we wanted to collect sea monkeys and one child boasted that she had them but as none of us ever saw them it was hard to say whether sea monkeys were real.

The staff at Aaron Spelling Productions must have been thoroughly bemused when letters from a single school in Harare started arriving in Los Angeles Blvd, requesting autographed photographs. Someone at school wrote down the address of Aaron Spelling Productions and passed it around. We immediately sent for photographs and autographs and it was exciting to receive glossy signed pictures of Blake Carrington and Crystal and Alexis and Jeff Colby and Fallon all the way from America.

The Spoor children loved Dallas as much as we did – in our bedroom they had left a poster of the Southfork family, JR smiling evilly under a cowboy hat, Pam and Bobby radiant, Jock Ewing and Miss Ellie twinkling at the camera and Lucy Ewing scowling in denim shorts and a yellow tank top. We had not known who they were when we moved in, but it became clear who they were as we discovered Dallas on television.

My friend Clara Mapfumo would later become possibly the first recapper in history as she used to send me long letters in which she summarised for me the plots of my favourite shows after I left home for boarding school. Week after week she would update me on what was happening on Dynasty and Dallas, on Falcon Crest and Knots Landing, so that when I came home from school I would be caught up.

On Christmas Day, my parents invited relatives to visit. The house burst with Gapas and Gwemes, Zvinavashes and Hamandishes.  Our parents trotted us out, we girls with our hair in pop-poms around which were tied bright ribbons, Ratiel with a smart haircut, wearing our Christmas clothes from the Edgars Red Hanger Sale.

Tambirai vayeni,’ my mother said to my siblings and me, ‘Dance for our visitors.’

And dance we did, to music from our small pile of singles and LPs.  Bhutsu Mutandarikwa by Thomas Mapfumo.  Gypsy Girl by David Scobie. Holiday by Madonna. Celebration by Kool and the Gang, and much later, Graceland, the album that became our family anthem. The Mississippi Delta was shining like a national guitar, and we danced to the boy in the bubble and the baby with the baboon heart.

We danced and danced in the days of miracle and wonder.

In the days of miracle and wonder, we danced in our new house in Cotswold Hills.




For my father, the house in Cotswold hills was more than just a bigger house.  It was more than bricks and mortar, more than three bedrooms, with one ensuite, a kitchen, a dining room, and living room with two narrow corridors set in an L shape. The house on John Gleig represented his arrival on the lower rungs of the middle class, and with it, brighter prospects for his soon to be five children, brighter certainly, than what he had achieved for himself. It was the culmination of a dream.

My father believed that education was the key to transforming our lives. It was something of a mania and formed the subject of frequent family talks. His lessons were chiefly about the value of family, of community, about what he called hunhu, encapsulated in his often-repeated aphorism, Gappahrism really, kunzi munhu munhu vanhu, a person is a person because of other people, and this a full thirty years before the South African president Thabo Mbeki made ubuntu a fashionable tenet of African thinking.  Every so often, and certainly before and after every term, when he made us peer review each other’s school reports, he would give us a lecture about the value of education.

He would call us one by one, in order of age.

We would run in from wherever we were in the house.  I would close the door to the passage, my sister the door to the dining room. He would make a ceremony of switching off the television before beginning his lectures, which were modelled on Socrates, and in which he asked short prodding questions to elicit responses on which he then expanded.

‘Tell me,’ he would begin, ‘What is the value of education?”


‘Pet’na?’ My father’s Karanga accent made the second vowel in my name superfluous.

‘So that you can get a job?’ I would answer.

‘Why should you get a job?’


‘Reg’na?’, this to my sister, another name with a superfluous vowel.

‘So that you have money?’

‘Yes, but what is more important than money?’


‘Ratiyere?’, this to my brother, Ratiel, the name Karangarised for emphasis.

‘Being able to look after yourself?’

‘And you, The-Cat-The-Cat, what is more important than money.’

This was addressed to my sister, Vimbayi, then stammering over her first book, ‘The cat, the cat, the cat ran from the dog.’

‘Being able to buy a house?’

‘No. I am talking about independence. Kuzvimirira mega. Education will give you independence. Independence is the most important thing you can ever have.  Manzwa here vanangu? There is nothing more important than that. Without independence, you are nothing.’

‘Nothing at all,’ my mother would chime in. ‘If you don’t listen, you will be nothing.’

She acted as my father’s chorus, but frequently went off on a tangent and the discussion would then veer into whether she and my father were talking about the same thing.

‘Listen to your father,’ she would say, ‘’Freedom is the most important thing you can have.’

‘Not freedom, Mai’Pet’na,’ he would respond. ‘Handizvopi zvandareva. Independence. I am talking about independence, not freedom.’

Bodozve, Ba’Pet’na,’ she would retort, ‘it was you who spoke about freedom.’

‘Uh, uh, Mai’Pet’na,’ he would say, now scratching his leg in the way that he did when he wished to emphasise a point, ‘I said independence.’

‘Freedom is independence and independence is freedom Ba’Pet’na,’ my mother would protest,  ‘We are talking about the same thing.’

As, indeed, they often were.

My name was always on their tongues. They called each other Mai’Pet’na and Ba’Pet’na as is the custom in a culture in which parents are named for their eldest child. When my sister-in-law, Tendai first heard one of the arguments between my parents that looped round and round before inevitably reaching a point of concordance, she told me that she thought my name was spelled ‘Pet’nargh’, with a catarrh sound at the end.

My father also invoked my name when he wanted to swear to the truth of any statement someone was doubting. ‘Ndopika nemwanangu Pet’na,’ he would say, ‘I swear by Pet’na’.

More frequently, as was common among the Karanga, he would simply state my name to back up a statement without stating the “I swear by” bit, so that it often happened that I would hear my father shout ‘Pet’na!’, drop whatever book I was reading and run to where he was, thinking that he had called me.

Handina kukudana ini, nda’ndichipika newe,’ he would laugh. ‘I didn’t call you I was just swearing by you.’

As, indeed, he often was.




The topic, ‘What you did in the holidays’ took on greater import in the August of 1982. My parents got married. They were married already, before I was born, but, as I would learn in law school, our laws recognised two forms of marriage, customary law and civil law.  Under customary law, the family of the groom paid pfuma to the family of the bride. Under civil law, a presiding officer sealed two parties contractually. My father, the first descendant of his ancestors to fully embrace modernity, and keen to protect my mother legally, decided to formalise their union under civil law.

Off we went to the Magistrates’ Court at Rotten Row, in our Peugeot 404, my mother resplendent in a white gown and veil, my father dapper in his best suit, a white flower in his buttonhole, my little brothers in suits, and my little sisters and I in the same pink dresses. At Rotten Row we met our relatives, with Ba’munini Phineas and my mother’s best friend Mai Simba acting as the witnesses.

Back home, we had a party, and everyone danced. Mainini Mai Libby danced, Maiguru Mai Taona danced, Vatete Epiphania danced, Vatete Mai Dorcas danced, Vatete Simbisayi danced, Ba’munini Phineas and Ba’munini Tapiwa danced, Vakoma Ses’ta and Mai Simba danced and we danced along with them, to ‘Gypsy Girl’ and ‘Bhutsu Mutandarikwa’ and to the Soul Brothers.

The following term, I wrote about the magnificence of that day. This holiday, I said, my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary. And I described how we went to court, and what my mother wore. It made sense to my eleven-year old mind that it was a wedding anniversary, having no notion then of the two kinds of marriage.  Proudly, I handed in my composition to my teacher Mrs. Marere.

‘Very good, Petina,’ Mrs. Marere wrote in her red pen. ‘Well described. But if it was a wedding anniversary, why did they go to court?’

I presented my writing book to my father who read my story and Mrs. Marere’s comment.

Iwe Pet’na’, he said, ‘Nyora zvaunoziva wanzwa. Write what you know, what you understand.’

It was the first writing advice I received, sound advice and after that.

After that, I stuck to my made-up stories.


About the Author

Petina Gappah is the author of two short story collections, (An Elegy for Easterly, Rotten Row) and two novels (The Book of Memory, Out of Darkness Shining Light), which have been widely translated and published to critical acclaim. Her memoir,  Heaven Is A library, will be published in 2024. Petina lives in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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