Vendela Vida

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Vendela Vida
Vendela Vida Portrait.png
Vida in 2010
BornSeptember 6, 1971
San Francisco, California, U.S.
EducationMiddlebury College,
Columbia University
Occupation(s)Novelist, journalist, editor, screenplay writer, educator
SpouseDave Eggers

Vendela Vida (born September 6, 1971)[1] is an American novelist, journalist, editor, screenplay writer, and educator. She is the author of multiple books, has worked as a writing teacher, and is a founder and editor of The Believer magazine.[2]

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 her father is Hungarian.[3][4] 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.[5] She later continued her studies and received a Master of Fine Arts degree at Columbia University.[3][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.[3][7]


In 2003, Vida co-founded The Believer magazine with Dave Eggers and works as an editor with her friends from grad school Heidi Julavits and Ed Park.[8] The Believer happens to be located next door to McSweeney's.[3]

She is a co-founder and board member of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization that teaches creative writing to children and teens.[3]

Vida collaborated with Dave Eggers on the screenplay for the 2009 film Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes and co-starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph.[9][10]

In 2017, Vida was a Lurie Author-in-Residence and instructor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University.[11][12]


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.[13] In a 2003 Guardian article Vida voiced her plan to author a trilogy of novels "on the subject of violence and rage."[14]

The second novel, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (2007, HarperCollins), is a thriller that takes place in the Sápmi region.[15] As a 2013 fellow at the Sundance Labs, Vida alongside Eva Weber developed Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name into a script, which received the Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award.[16]

The Lovers (June 2010, Ecco), author 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 (2015, Ecco/HarperCollins), was inspired by a trip Vida took to Morocco where her bag was stolen.[17]

Two of Vida’s novels have been New York Times notable books of the year, and she is the winner of the 2007 Kate Chopin Award, given to a writer whose female protagonist chooses an unconventional path.[18][12]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to author Dave Eggers, has two children, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.[9][19][20] Vida and Eggers had met in 1998 in San Francisco at a wedding and started dating in 1999.[3]


  • 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
  • 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 (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[4]


  1. ^ "Vendela Vida". (in Czech). Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  2. ^ Campbell, Duncan (2003-09-23). "'What do they mean?', Vendela Vida is the hottest young voice in US fiction. She and her husband, bestselling author Dave Eggers, are known as the Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt of literature. But she couldn't care less, she tells Duncan Campbell". the Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2021-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Crown, Sarah (2011-07-08). "A life in writing: Vendela Vida". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2021-12-17. 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.
  4. ^ a b Gwinn, Mary Ann (2021-02-09). "Review: Vendela Vida's ode to teen strife could have been a great San Francisco novel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ 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.
  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. ^ Scott, A. O. (2005-09-11). "Among the Believers". The New York Times. p. Section 6, Page 38. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  9. ^ a b Englander, Nathan (May 2009). "Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida". Interview magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  10. ^ La Force, Thessaly (2009-07-06). "Those Two". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved 2021-12-18.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Lurie Visiting Authors, Department of English and Comparative Literature". San Jose State University (SJSU). Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  12. ^ a b "SJSU Lurie Author-in-Residence 2017: Vendela Vida". Litseen. 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  13. ^ Julian Guthrie, "Vendela Vida wraps trilogy on women in crisis," The San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 2010.
  14. ^ Duncan Campbell, "What Do They Mean? Duncan Campbell Meets Vendela Vida", The Guardian, September 23, 2003.
  15. ^ Boddy, Kasia (2007-03-04). "Review: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida". the Guardian. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  16. ^ Brennan, Billy (2013-05-09). "Sundance Institute Selects 2013 Directors and Screenwriters Lab Projects". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2021-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Alex Clark, Vendela Vida: "You write to know you’re not alone in the world", The Guardian, 27 September 27, 2015.
  18. ^ Author Bio, Book Launch: The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida, The Powerhouse Arena, June 9, 2015
  19. ^ Robinson, Tasha (June 4, 2009). "Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2021-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Galow, Timothy W. (2014-11-12). Understanding Dave Eggers. Univ of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-61117-428-1.

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