AUDIO: Petina Gappah talks ‘Rotten Row’ and social media in her creative process
Award-winning Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah recently released a book called Rotten Row and we had a chat with her on the side of reception hosted by the British Embassy.
On how social media helps her write:
Facebook allows you to say a lot more [than Twitter] in terms of words and so on. I’m a wordy person. I also love the engagement with people. People comment and I also comment on other people’s posts. And I have made some really good friends on Facebook. So for me social media is vital to the way I create. I get ideas from there, I share ideas. I test ideas.
On how The Rotten Row came up:
Because I was also reading a lot of social media posts and news papers online, I realised there was a very interesting spike in crime… especially opportunistic crimes…It really said a lot about where we are as a nation. That there is a lot of anger, tension and stress. And a lot of coming out in the form of these crimes. So I thought why not write a whole series of crimes, the crimes people commit and the reason people commit crimes.
She talks about her transition from the short story format and what she has done now with The Rotten Row, something her editor called ‘a leap in artistry and achievement’. Gappah talks about the complex types of storytelling and detail in her characters.