Ugandan author Goretti Kyomuhendo just republished her 20-year-old novel Whispers from Vera on August 11, 2023. Published by African Writers Trust, the reissue seeks to share Vera’s struggle to balance career aspirations and her desire for love with contemporary readers.
Whispers from Vera was first published in 2002, in Uganda, by Monitor Publications Ltd. The first print run of 2,000 copies sold well in Uganda, but unfortunate circumstances struck. About two years after the book was published, the publisher discontinued the publishing business; and, consequently, Whispers from Vera went out of print.
Read the stunning synopsis below:
Twenty-nine-year-old Vera is desperate to meet Mr Right after several failed relationships. A high-flyer, Vera is determined to have it all: a husband, family and an illustrious career. When she meets Eric, a hunky, corporate executive, Vera is elated. Eric is thirty-one, single and searching. Then a secret of unimaginable magnitude that Eric has kept from Vera surfaces, threatening to destroy their otherwise perfect romance. Will Vera make the necessary sacrifices to keep the fame burning? Set against the vibrancy of Kampala metropolis in the 2000s, Whispers from Vera is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek read, enriched with Uglish and local languages. Free-spirited and audacious, Vera documents the whole gamut of her life’s experiences as she navigates through the lows and highs of motherhood and wifehood of a middle-class, modern-day, Ugandan career woman.
Kyomuhendo shared with us that when the book went out of print, she was flooded with requests from readers and fans to make the book available again. This was one of the reasons she decided to reissue the novel on the 20th anniversary of its first publication.
In addition, she added she strongly believes that no book should be out of print: “I think as writers and publishers, this should be our primary goal (and responsibility) to ensure that books are kept in circulation. Every book matters.”
The reissue is published by the African Writers Trust imprint, the publishing arm of the organization, launched in 2010 by Kyomuhendo herself. Although AWT has already published four short story and poetry anthologies by African writers who have previously participated in their training programs, Whispers from Vera is the first novel to be issued under the imprint.
Celebrating the timeless tale of a woman balancing her career amidst romance and societal expectations, Whispers from Vera is a classic! Kyomuhendo remarked she believes that 2023 readers will enjoy it just as much as the 2002 ones:
There’s a new generation of readers who have come of age since the book was first published in 2002. I was at first concerned that Vera’s whispers would not resonate with the new age group of readers, who are between 25 and 40 years, and are the primary target audience for the novel. I worked with a team of readers in this age bracket, who reviewed the content to determine the story’s suitability for the intended audience. The readers looked at the novel’s themes, for instance, such as balancing career ambitions and family, love relationships in today’s era, dealing with societal expectations, archetypes of patriarchy and family dynamics that characterise many African societies. The readers also assessed the appropriateness of colloquial language, which populates the novel, to determine if it was representative of everyday speak of the target audience.
From the feedback received from readers and critics alike, this new edition has been well received. Vera is relatable and speaks to many of the readers.
Congrats to Kyomuhendo on the republication! Buy Whispers from Vera here.