Vendela Vida

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Vendela Vida portrait by Chloe Aftel

Vendela Vida (born September 6, 1971) is an American novelist, journalist, and editor who lives in the Bay Area. She is married to writer Dave Eggers. She is the author of five books, a writing teacher, and an editor of The Believer magazine.[1]

Early life[edit]

Vida was born in San Francisco, California, where she still lives today. Both of her parents were European immigrants. Her mother was from Sweden, and she inherited the name Vendela from her maternal grandmother.[2] Her father came to the U.S. from Hungary and grew up near where Vida now lives. She left California to get her bachelor's degree at Middlebury College and later a master's at Columbia University. After graduating, she interned at the Paris Review, and she adapted her master's thesis into her first book, Girls on the Verge.[3]


Vida has written five books. The most recent, The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, was published by Ecco in June 2015.[1]

Published in 2003, And Now You Can Go is a novel set in New York, San Francisco, and the Philippines, tracing the impulsive journeys of a young woman in the wake of an assault.[4] In a 2003 Guardian article Vida voiced her plan to author a trilogy of novels "on the subject of violence and rage."[5] The second novel, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, takes place in Lapland and was published in 2007. As a fellow at the Sundance Labs, she developed Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name into a script, which received the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award. The Lovers was published in June 2010 by Ecco. Joyce Carol Oates called it "a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American woman’s voyage to self-discovery.”

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty was inspired by a trip Vida took to Morocco where her bag was stolen. From there, she came up with the fictional plot of the novel.[6] Lena Dunham called the book "part glamorous travelogue, part slow-burn mystery". The New York Times called it her "finest work."[1]

Two of Vida’s novels have been New York Times Notable Books of the year, and she is the winner of the Kate Chopin Award, given to a writer whose female protagonist chooses an unconventional path.[7]

Film work[edit]

Vida collaborated on the screenplay for the 2009 film Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes and co-starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph.[8]

826 Valencia[edit]

She is a co-founder and board member of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization that teaches creative writing to children and teens.[9]

Cultural references[edit]

Vendela Vida is also the name of a 2010 song by indie/folk rock band Dinosaur Feathers on their album Fantasy Memorial.


  • Eggers, Dave; Vida, Vendela (2009), Away We Go: A Screenplay, Vintage Books, ISBN 978-0-307-47588-6 
  • Julavits, Heidi; Park, Ed; Vida, Vendela (2009), Read Hard: Five Years of Great Writing from the Believer, McSweeney's, ISBN 978-1-934781-39-5 
  • Vida, Vendela (2000), Girls on the Verge: Debutante Dips, Drive-Bys, and Other Initiations (revised ed.), St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-26328-7 
  • Vida, Vendela (2008), And Now You Can Go (reprint ed.), Paw Prints, ISBN 978-1-4395-7338-9 
  • Vida, Vendela (2008), Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name: A Novel (reprint ed.), HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-06-082838-7 
  • Vida, Vendela (2008), The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers (revised ed.), McSweeney's, ISBN 978-1-932416-94-7 
  • Vida, Vendela (2010), The Lovers: A Novel, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-06-082839-4 
  • Vida, Vendela (2015), The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, Ecco/HarperCollins, ISBN 9780062110916 


  1. ^ a b c Harper Collins, Author Profile, 2015.
  2. ^ Sarah Crown, A life in writing: Vendela Vida, The Guardian, 8 July 2011
  3. ^ Robert Birnbaum, Author Interview: Vendela Vida, Identity Theory, 2 November 2003.
  4. ^ Julian Guthrie, "Vendela Vida wraps trilogy on women in crisis," The San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Duncan Campbell, "What Do They Mean? Duncan Campbell Meets Vendela Vida," The Guardian, September 23, 2003. (The newspaper describes Vida and husband Dave Eggers as "the Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt of literature.")
  6. ^ Alex Clark, Vendela Vida: ‘You write to know you’re not alone in the world’, The Guardian, 27 September 2015.
  7. ^ Author Bio, Book Launch: The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida, The Powerhouse Arena, 9 June 2015
  8. ^ Nathan Englander, "Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida," Interview Magazine, May, 2009.
  9. ^ Sarah Crown, "A life in writing: Vendela Vida," The Guardian, July 8, 2011.

External links[edit]