Thursday, 3 December 2009


Many congratulations to Petina Gappah, whose terrific collection Elegy for Easterly has been named as winner of the 2009 Guardian First Book Award. Announcement HERE
Petina and I 'met' while working on the One World Anthology. We didn't get on!
But whether or not one is mates with a writer doesn't (or shouldn't ) make one's response to their work any different - and we both liked each other's work.
One of the stories in this collection - a story called 'Midnight at the Hotel California' (what a title!) is among my favourites. Its up there on my list in Short Circuit alongside a few others by writers like Carver, Englander and Yann Martel. So tis lovely to know she's been recognised at this level. Congrats again.
Here's Petina Gappah's website and here (from her website), is the opening sentence of that story:
It is hard to remember that there was ever a time when you could buy a half dozen eggs, a packet of Colcolm sausages, two loaves of bread, a packet of Tanganda tea and still have change from a ten dollar note for two Castle Laagers and a packet of Everest.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, entirely put off by that opening sentence. It's trite (e.g has been ridiculed - unto death - by would-be comedians), and the voice combines a hint of truculence with self-pity: both = unattractive.
What follows would either have to consist of razor sharp satire or heart-stoppingly beautiful writing about glum subject matter to convince me.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Off you go and get the book, Minnie! It would not be winning a prize like this if it wasnt seriously good... dont take my word for it though... it was also shortlisted for the Frank O Connor Award - no mean achievement in itself!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Miss!
Hooray for you, for championing good writing so passionately (and with such wit and humour).