An Elegy for Easterly, a collection of short stories, won Petina Gappah the 2009 Guardian First Book award. In a brief interview following last night’s ceremony, the author said she was happy to win, but nervous because “all eyes are on [her] now.” Still, she has no intention of quitting her day job as a lawyer in Geneva:
“I’m going to carry on because I love my job,” she explains, “but also I think it’s going to afford me a measure of protection. I don’t want to write because I have to; I want to write because I want to. Sometimes when writers write because they have to, the results are disastrous.” (“Petina Gappah: ‘I don’t see myself as an African writer’,” by Stephen Moss, The Guardian)
Gappah is working on her first novel, The Book of Memory, due for release in January 2011.