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Last week was an interesting week here in Washington, DC. The city was paralyzed by a record-breaking snowfall. I had to do something to cure the cabin fever! While there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, so much more can be found online. I found some short stories that I thought I’d share.

Quality Street by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, guest-edited by Claire Messud

Baptizing the Gun by Uwem Akpan

Waiting by Chika Unigwe

Going Home by Chika Unigwe

Simpatico by Sefi Atta, guest-edited by Claire Messud

{via Guernica, The New Yorker, Per Contra, NEXT}

Fellow Zimbabwean Emmanuel Sigauke explores issues of the writer’s identity and more…at African Writing Online.

Petina Gappah won the Guardian First Book Award, 2009 for her debut fiction An Elegy for Easterly. Zimbabwe’s National Arts Council recently announced that An Elegy for Easterly is in the running for a National Merit Award.

Edited By Helon Habila and Binyavanga Wainaina, this anthology will bring together the best of the best African short stories published in the last 50 years. You are invited to recommend any great short story you have read in a collection, a magazine, online, or heard on the radio, but it has to be by an African author.

The story could be in English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, or any major African language, but the final language of publication will be English. Send story title, author’s name, and any publication information you have to help us track your recommended story. Send before April 30, 2010, to:

The Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa’s leading literary prize and is awarded to a short story by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. This edition, published by New Internationalist, collects the five 2009 shortlisted stories, along with twelve stories written at the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop in spring 2009.

Nigeria’s EC Osondu won the 2009 Prize for his short story ‘Waiting’ from, October 2008.

Previous winners and entrants include Segun Afolabi, Leila Aboulela, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Brian Chikwava, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Mary Watson, and Binyavanga Wainaina.

elegyforeasterlyZimbabwean writer Petina Gappah has posted first lines of each story in her new book An Elegy for Easterly. Just enough to make you want to go out and buy the book! I love that.  Read it here.

From editorial reviews: In this astonishingly powerful debut collection, she dissects with real poignancy the lives of people caught up in a situation over which they have no control, as they deal with spiralling inflation, power cuts and financial hardship – a way of life under Mugabe’s regime – and cope with issues common to all people everywhere; failed promises, disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. Compelling, unflinching and tender, “An Elegy for Easterly” is a defining book, and a stunning portrait of a country in chaotic meltdown.

She was shortlisted for the prestigious Frank O’Conner prize in short stories.

Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University, and the University of Zimbabwe. Her short fiction and essays have been published in eight countries. She lives with her son Kush in Geneva, where she works as counsel in an international organisation that provides legal aid on international trade law to developing countries. Her story collection, An Elegy for Easterly was published by Faber in April 2009. She is currently completing The Book of Memory, her first novel. Both books will also be published in Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

GodsandSoldiersI just received my copy of Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing. Edited by Rob Spillman of Tin House, this collection promises to “capture the energy, vitality, and immediacy of the continent today.” I’m just basically thrilled about this one because it gives readers an opportunity to “sample” a number of  African writers’ works in one collection.  The Anthology includes writings from the well-known like Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie, and the less- known — Yvonne Vera, E. C. Osondu.

Read a review here.