Yvonne Vera

Zimbabwean writer

Dr. Yvonne Vera (19 September 1964 – 7 April 2005) was an author from Zimbabwe. Her first published book was a collection of short stories, Why Don't You Carve Other Animals (1992), which was followed by five novels: Nehanda (1993), Without a Name (1994), Under the Tongue (1996), Butterfly Burning (1998), and The Stone Virgins (2002). Her novels are known for their poetic prose, difficult subject-matter, and their strong women characters, and are firmly rooted in Zimbabwe's difficult past. For these reasons, she has been widely studied and appreciated by those studying postcolonial African literature.

Yvonne Vera (2003)


  • "For me writing is light, a radiance that captures everything in a fine profile. This light searches and illuminates, it is a safe place from which to uncover the emotional havoc of our experience. Light is a bright warmth which heals. Writing can be this kind of light."
    • Good Reads[[1]]
  • "If speaking is still difficult to negotiate, then writing has created a free space for most women -much freer than speech. The book is bound, circulated, read. It retains its autonomy much more than a woman is allowed in the oral situation."
    • Opening Spaces: An Anthology of Contemporary African Women's Writing, August 11, 2008 [[2]]
  • "Our people know the power of words. It is because of this that they desire to have words continuously spoken and kept alive. We do not believe that words can become independent of the speech that bore them, of the humans who controlled and gave birth to them. The paper is the stranger’s own peculiar custom. Among ourselves, speech is not like the rock. Words cannot be taken from the people who create them. People are their words."
  • "Time is as necessary for remembering as it is for forgetting. Even the smallest embrace of pain needs time larger than a pause; the greatest pause requires an eternity, the greatest hurt a lifetime. A lifetime is longer than eternity: an eternity can exist without human presence."
  • "We walked in wisdom with our shadows, in search of the dead part of ourselves, which would be our shelter."
  • "I always need to be anchored in such a way that I am inside a character."
    • [6]On how she writes her story
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