Vera, Yvonne 1964–2005

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Vera, Yvonne 1964–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 19, 1964, in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); died of meningitis April 7, 2005, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Educator, art gallery director, and author. Vera was one of Zimbabwe's most acclaimed authors of novels and short stories. Growing up in Bulawayo, she was educated at Mzilikazi high school and became a high school English teacher in 1984. After marrying a Canadian national, she attended Toronto's York University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1995. She also taught literature at the university before moving back to Zimbabwe. Here she was regional director of the National Gallery from 1997 to 2003. However, the deteriorating political situation in her country forced her to return to Canada in 2003. Vera's writings were controversial in her homeland because they address topics that were taboo in the culture there, including abortion, rape, and incest. In the West, however, she was critically praised for her lyrical writings on such difficult subjects. She won numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for African Region in 1994 for Nehanda (1993) and in 1997 for Under the Tongue (1997); and in 2004 she was presented the Tucholsky Award from Swedish PEN. Among her other books are Butterfly Burning (1998) and The Stone Virgins (2003). At the time of her death, Vera was working on a new book, Obedience.



Guardian (London, England), April 27, 2005, p. 29.

Independent (London, England), April 15, 2005, p. 48.