Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean lawyer and writer. She was born in Zambia, in Copperbelt Province, and raised in Zimbabwe. She writes in both English and her native ChiKaranga, also called Shona. She has law degrees from Cambridge University, Graz University in Austria and the University of Zimbabwe.

Petina Gappah
Petina Gappah
Born 1971
Nationality Zimbabwe
Education University of Zimbabwe,
University of Cambridge,
University of Graz
Alma mater University of Zimbabwe
  • Writer
  • Lawyer
Notable work Guardian first book award with her short story collection An Elegy for Easterly in 2009

She lives in France with her son Kush and works as an international lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland.



Born in 1970, Gappah had 4 siblings. Her father worked in a bank and she went to a school in Harare where Africans were a minority. Gappah's dream was to become a journalist and writer, but her father insisted she become a lawyer.

Legal Career

Petina’s first job as a newly-qualified lawyer was with Kantor and Immerman solicitors in Harare where she assisted in the constitutional challenge to the monopoly of the PTC, a state agency, on behalf of Retrofit Engineering, the company that became Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms provider. She also worked for the Harare Commercial Arbitration Centre.[1]

She then joined the secretariat of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, the tribunal that arbitrates trade disputes between and among nations.[1] She has been based in Geneva since 1998, and currently advises developing countries involved in trade disputes.[2]

Petina quit her job at the WTO in December 2015 to pursue writing full-time.




In 2011, she was appointed by Education Minister David Coltart to the Board of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. Betweeen 2011 and 2013, she chaired the Board of the Harare City Library where she initiated a million-dollar refurbishment project funded by the government of Sweden. [3]



Some Articles About Petina Gappah

Fadzayi Mahere Sues Petina Gappah For

Million Over Tweets Sat Oct 13 2018

Author Petina Gappah Tears Into Fadzayi Mahere, Accuses Her Of Attempting To Snatch Her Partner Mon Oct 1 2018

Petina Gappah Denies Leading Smear Campaign Against Minister Mukupe, Says Her Account Was Cloned Thu May 24 2018

See more news on Petina Gappah


  1. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Stephen Moss, Petina Gappah: 'I don't see myself as an African writer', , Published:4 Dec 2009 , Retrieved: 7 Nov 2016
  2. 3.0 3.1 Petina Gappah, Petina Gappah official Webiste, Collaborations page , Petina Gappah, Retrieved: 7 Nov 2016
  3. Petina Gappah, Petina Gappah official Website, Languages page , Petina Gappah, Retrieved: 7 Nov 2016