The news that Petina Gappah signed a transcontinental two-book deal is great for Zimbabwean and African literature. She is a one of the new voices of Zimbawean literature who are adding a new layer to the country’s literature, and the time is right: the Zimbabwean writer has much to say at this time.
The writer (novelist, poet, playwright, momoirist) has much to tell. Asserting that this is the time for writer raises the question of whether there is ever a time that is not for the writer, but, seriously speaking, THIS, right now, feels like one of those times when you can stand up and shout it: This is the time!
The difficult times have created great tension in the writer, whose heart has bled, but has not always had the opportunity, sometimes not even the time, to write country’s story. Now, as change happens, the writer is working; the writer is working on something, and that something may not even be about the Deal, the MOU, or the way forward; this something (let’s call it the subject), may be about Nehanda as a baby, or about the early eighties, about Bob Marley in a Harare hotel in 1980. Whatever the theme or style is, this tension, this abuse of, this shock treatment to, artistic patience might surprise you with a renaissance. A new chapter of African writing is opening….
Congratulations to Petina Gappah and to all the other Zimbabwean voices that are about to rise to prominence.