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Archival description
Yvonne Vera fonds
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Academic

File contains school reports, college certificate and ceremony programme, York University transcripts and an oversized composite photograph of Graduates of Founders College, York University 1990. File also includes royalty statements from TSAR publications.

Accession 2016-034

Accession consists primarily of Vera's professional records, including finished copies, typescripts and drafts of published and unpublished works; copies of articles written by and about Vera; professional correspondence; royalty statements; and a scrapbook of clippings and literary ephemera related to early publications. Records also include some personal correspondence and memorabilia and John Jose’s correspondence pertaining to Vera’s passing. Accession includes a selection of books both by and belonging to Vera and also includes a copy of the Vera biography, “Petal Thoughts” by Ericah Gwetai.

Articles and reviews

File contains materials relating to Vera’s writing career, such as copies of writing by and about Vera, including reviews and interviews, some correspondence, and an opinion piece regarding Vera’s receipt of the PEN Tucholsky Prize. File also includes the Tucholsky Prize certificate as well as the prize receipt from the Embassy of Sweden and some ephemera, including the programme for the PEN reception attended by Vera and Jose where her win was acknowledged (described by Jose as “the last public engagement Yvonne was able to attend.”) Other ephemera includes programmes for literary gatherings, performance tickets and a brochure from the Stockholm Tourist Board. Also in the file are two airmail envelopes addressed to John Jose from Vera’s mother, Ericah Gwetai, containing copies of articles written by Vera, as well as an unpublished short story by Vera, “A Hospital Visit”. File also includes some personal items including Vera’s marriage certificate and death certificate.

Articles used in courses taught by Yvonne

File contains table of contents, course description and photocopies of readings, some bearing Vera’s holograph notes, for a York University course: English 6980, with Terry Goldie, September 1992. Described on envelope as “Articles on Postcolonial Literature”.

Articles used in courses taught by Yvonne

File contains photocopies of chapters from academic textbooks on subjects such as African literature and the Black diaspora in Asia. There are holograph notes by Vera in places.

Articles used in courses taught by Yvonne

File contains a spiral-bound photocopy of readings for a York University course: Humanities 1300: “The Culture of the Oppressed in the Americas”, with Terry Goldie. File also includes a class list for English 6950 “Post-colonial theory” and photocopied readings.

Brown Photo Album

File contains Vera’s tourist photographs from the 1980s of trips to Italy, the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Zimbabwe and Zambia. The photographs were received in a brown photograph album.

Brown Photo Album

File contains Vera’s tourist photographs from the 1980s of trips to Italy, the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Zimbabwe and Zambia. The photographs were received in a brown photograph album.

For Sarah Kastner/Vera archive from Mary Polito

File contains items gathered by John Jose and Mary Polito for inclusion in the Yvonne Vera fonds after Vera’s death. File includes correspondence, photographs and a VHS tape marked, “March 1994, Doris Lessing (Yvonne)”.

Income tax returns

File includes tax returns, receipts, statements and other tax-related documents.

Income tax returns

File includes tax returns, receipts, statements and other tax-related documents. File also includes some correspondence regarding publications of Vera’s work.

Kastner interviews and Nigeria 70 documentary

File contains copies of Sarah Kastner’s interviews with Mary Polito, friend and literary executor of Vera, and with Vera’s husband, John Jose. File also contains a CD marked “Nigeria 70 : documentary”.

Last year of life (Apr. 04- Apr. 05) in Canada

File contains various items of Vera’s Canadian identification including passport, certificate of Canadian citizenship and a library card. File also contains health-related materials, including correspondence regarding Vera’s inability to travel and plans for her mother to visit in 2005. File includes other personal information such as a marriage service and certificate, personal banking information, York University transcripts and correspondence and other materials connected with Vera’s teaching at York. Also included are photos from what appears to be the Thatha Camera exhibit launch in Bulaweyo.

Newspaper obituaries

File contains two original copies of Vera’s obituary in The Toronto Star’s Lifelines column, May 23, 2005.

Obedience manuscript

File contains contents of white envelope marked “Obedience”, including an older draft manuscript of the novel containing many holograph notes. File also contains pages of notes, readers’ reports and Vera’s correspondence with readers, friends and publishers regarding “Obedience”.

Personal letters, scrapbooks, etc

File contains personal correspondence including letters, cards and postcards to and from friends and family as well some professional correspondence regarding literary events and a teaching opportunity. File also includes photos from Vera’s graduation and wedding, as well as a large, b&w photograph of Vera posing with a hat.

Personal letters, scrapbooks, etc

File contains various personal items including three Mead Memo books: “Some notes jotted down by Yvonne during her last year” and “Notes by and for Yvonne while at Sunnybrook Hosptial, fall 2004” -- for further details about these notebooks please see interview with John Jose in file 2016-034/001(01). File also contains correspondence between Vera and Jose, including a hand-painted card by Vera; a ticket to a Harbourfront Reading Series event featuring Bruce Powe and Yvonne Vera; a recipe scrapbook and photographs.

Personal letters, scrapbooks, etc

File contains various personal documents including Hillside Teachers’ College Bulawayo honours ceremony programme and a journal named “Honeymoon/John and Voni 4-7-87”. File also includes various photographs of Vera.

Red Photo Album

File contains photographs from the red photo album containing wedding and honeymoon photographs.

Scrapbook Collage

File contains a scrapbook made by Vera, decorated with a collage cover constructed from magazine images. The scrapbook contains many personal items including tickets and advertisements for cultural events both in Canada and abroad, an invitation to Vera and Jose’s wedding, mementoes from their honeymoon and other travels, special cards and invitations, certiificates, illustrations, correspondence from family and friends, as well as letters from York University conveying the news of Vera’s Summa Cum Laude designation as well as her place on the Dean’s Honour Roll. File also includes newspaper clippings by and about Vera, a notebook, postcards and photographs.

Small stack of books

File contains copies of two journals containing articles by or about Vera; a book, “The Soapstone Birds of Great Zimbabwe”; and a catalogue from the National Art Gallery in Bulaweyo’s “Thatha Camera” exhibition, with text by Vera.

Taffy 1993 [Hilroy Scrapbook]

File contains a Hilroy scrapbook with “Taffy 1993” written on the cover. Scrapbook contains two letters from Vera’s brother Taffy to Jose.

Tapes and letters- white gift box

File contains a white box, which contained sympathy cards, letters and memorial donation notifications received by Jose after Vera’s death, as well as two audio cassettes, and photographs of Terence Ranger and others at Jose’s cottage at the scattering of Vera’s ashes.

The Graphic

File contains correspondence and documents regarding prospective publication of Vera’s article “Pavements, Prisons, Texts: The Colonial Production of Space and African Literary Invention” in the journal “Research in African Literatures” and includes a copy of the essay (with holograph notes) and copies of research materials. File also includes Paul Simon’s “Graceland” record sleeve, folded.

Yvonne : Scrapbook

File contains a scrapbook of items relating to publication of Vera’s books and includes notes and correspondence, photocopies of reviews and interviews, literary ephemera relating to events such as book launches and literary prizes, book cover treatments, a photograph of “Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals?” on a bookstore shelf, and some newsclippings.

Yvonne : Tributes and Obituaries

File contains materials related to Vera’s death in April 2005 and includes sympathy cards and letters of condolence received by Jose, correspondence and programme regarding a reading memorial to Vera and regarding memorial donations, the text for Jose’s remarks at Vera’s funeral, copies of newspaper articles, obituaries and tributes. The file also includes Jose’s email correspondence with friends and family, discussing the decision to reveal Vera’s HIV-positive status after her death.

Yvonne : Tributes and Obituaries

File contains materials related to Vera’s death in April 2005 and includes letters of condolence received by Jose, the text for remarks and eulogies given at Vera’s funeral, copies of newspaper articles, obituaries and tributes. The file also includes Jose’s email correspondence with friends and family.

Yvonne Vera fonds

  • F0697
  • Fonds
  • 1971-2015, predominant 1985-2005

Fonds consists of records pertaining to Yvonne Vera’s activities as a prominent African writer of English fiction and as a student and teacher of English literature while in Canada. Records include finished copies, typescripts and drafts of published and unpublished works; copies of articles written by and about Vera; personal and professional correspondence; personal memorabilia. Fonds includes a selection of books both by and belonging to Vera and a copy of the Vera biography, “Petal Thoughts,” by Ericah Gwetai. The fonds consists of items created and accumulated together by Vera and Jose, as well as mementos brought from Zimbabwe by Vera.

Vera, Yvonne

Yvonne Vera letters : [Mary Polito]

File contains correspondence between Yvonne Vera and her friend and literary executor Mary Polito. File includes letters, emails, cards and postcards and also some photocopies of news clippings about Vera and writing by Vera.

Yvonne [Green binder]

File includes miscellaneous professional correspondence including discussion of opportunities such as professorial and writer-in-residence positions, speaking and writing invitations, correspondence with publishing houses, interview questions, copies of book reviews, and correspondence and announcements, including a draft acceptance speech, regarding the Tucholsky prize. The file also includes some personal correspondence pertaining to Vera’s health,as well as to her reasons for planning to leave Zimbabwe in 2003.

Yvonne [Hilroy Scrapbook]

File contains a Hilroy scrapbook with “Yvonne” written on the cover. The scrapbook contains a newspaper clipping about Bulawayo, clippings of articles by Vera, a newspaper article written by Vera’s mother, Erica Gwetai, and a letter to her. File also includes an invitation to an event at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair and to a school event, as well as a copy of “Exhibit: a national gallery magazine” containing a review by Terence Ranger of Vera’s Thatha Camera exhibit.

Yvonne’s Manuscripts

File contains manuscript “Bird of Bright Plumage”. This work was later entitled “Nehanda”. File also includes two envelopes containing letters to Vera from the Writers’ Union of Canada.

Yvonne’s Manuscripts

File contains manuscript “Without a Name”, described on label of envelope as the initial draft. File also includes a single sheet of paper: a folded and dated note by Vera.

Yvonne’s Manuscripts

File contains manuscript “Milk and Moon”, described on label of envelope as the first draft. This work was later entitled “Under the Tongue”.