Vendela Vida

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Vendela Vida portrait by Chloe Aftel

Vendela Vida (born September 6, 1971) is an American novelist, journalist, editor and educator. She is the author of multiple books, a writing teacher, and an editor of The Believer magazine.[1] In 2017, Vida was a Lurie Author-in-Residence and instructor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University.[2] She is married to author Dave Eggers, has two children, and lives in the Bay Area.

Early life[edit]

Vida was born on the 6 September 1971 in San Francisco, California. Both of her parents were European immigrants. Her mother was from Sweden, and she inherited the name Vendela from her maternal grandmother.[3] She left California to get her Bachelor's degree in English in 1993 at Middlebury College in Vermont, and it was through a mutual friend from her undergraduate degree that she met her future spouse, Dave Eggers.[4] She later continued her studies and received a Master of Fine Arts degree at Columbia University.[5][6] After graduating, she interned at the Paris Review, and she adapted her master's degree thesis into her first book, Girls on the Verge.[5][7]


Vida has written multiple books, including The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, which was published by Ecco in June 2015.[1]

Published in 2003, And Now You Can Go is a novel set in New York City, San Francisco, and the Philippines, tracing the impulsive journeys of a young woman in the wake of an assault.[8] In a 2003 Guardian article Vida voiced her plan to author a trilogy of novels "on the subject of violence and rage."[9]

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, Vida developed it 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.”[citation needed]

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty was inspired by a trip Vida took to Morocco where her bag was stolen.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[citation needed]


  • 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 (2003), 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
  • Vida, Vendela (2021), We Run the Tides, Ecco/HarperCollins, ISBN 9780062936233


  1. ^ a b Harper Collins, Author Profile,; accessed December 18, 2016.
  2. ^ "Lurie Visiting Authors, Department of English and Comparative Literature". San Jose State University (SJSU). Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  3. ^ Sarah Crown, A life in writing: Vendela Vida profile, The Guardian, July 8, 2011.
  4. ^ Baker, Aylie (April 10, 2007). "Just a couple of staggering geniuses". The Middlebury Campus. Retrieved 2019-04-30. Eggers met his wife Vendela Vida ’93 through a mutual friend who also attended the College. Vida, an English major graduating Phi Beta Kappa, dabbled in several disciplines, including theatre and Italian.
  5. ^ a b Crown, Sarah (2011-07-08). "A life in writing: Vendela Vida". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-30. Girls on the Verge, which spun out of Vida's Columbia MFA thesis, is an intriguing exploration of female coming-of-age rituals in America, written when Vida was in her early 20s, only just emerging from the hinterland of fake IDs and underage drinking herself.
  6. ^ Walker, Tiana. "Vendela Vida, SJSU's Lurie Author-in-Residence". SJSU News. Retrieved 2019-04-30. She began as a tutor during her undergraduate years at Middlebury College in Vermont, as well as during her time in graduate school at Columbia University.
  7. ^ Robert Birnbaum, Author Interview: Vendela Vida,, November 2, 2003.
  8. ^ Julian Guthrie, "Vendela Vida wraps trilogy on women in crisis," The San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 2010.
  9. ^ Duncan Campbell, "What Do They Mean? Duncan Campbell Meets Vendela Vida", The Guardian, September 23, 2003.
  10. ^ Alex Clark, Vendela Vida: "You write to know you’re not alone in the world", The Guardian, 27 September 27, 2015.
  11. ^ Author Bio, Book Launch: The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida, The Powerhouse Arena, June 9, 2015
  12. ^ Nathan Englander, "Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida," Interview Magazine (May 2009).
  13. ^ Sarah Crown, "A life in writing: Vendela Vida," The Guardian, July 8, 2011.

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