Yvonne Vera


Born in 1964 in Bulawayo in what was then Southern Rhodesia, Vera’s life was cut tragically short when, in 2005, she died of meningitis aged just 40.

She has come to be regarded as one of the most important sub-Saharan female novelists to have emerged in recent decades.

Her career began in earnest during her time as a student in Toronto, Canada, where she published pieces in a local magazine.

This would prove the catalyst for a short story collection, Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals (1993), as well as a series of novels.

Yvonne Vera

These include Nehanda (1993), Without a Name (1994), Under the Tongue (1996), Butterfly Burning (1998) and The Stone Virgins (2002).

Vera returned to Zimbabwe in 1995, and was a source of great inspiration and support to many up-and-coming artists in her role as regional director of the national gallery in Bulawayo from 1997 to 2003.

That Vera was working on a new novel, Obedience, when she died shows her commitment to her work even in the most debilitating of circumstances.

Her work is intimately concerned with the politics of the female body, in relation to such traumatizing experiences as infanticide, rape and abortion, seen in terms of wider issues concerning the Zimbabwean body politic.


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