Edited by Peter Orner and Annie Holmes with a Foreword by Brian Chikwava

The situation in Zimbabwe represents one of the worst humanitarian emergencies today. This book asks the question: How did a country with so much promise—a stellar education system, a growing middle class, a sophisticated economic infrastructure, a liberal constitution, an independent judiciary, and many of the trappings of Western democracy—go so wrong? In their own words, Zimbabweans recount their experiences of losing their homes, land, livelihoods, and families as a direct result of political violence. They describe being tortured in detention, firebombed at work, or beaten up or raped to “punish” votes for the opposition. Those forced to flee to neighboring countries recount their escapes: cutting through fences, swimming across crocodile-infested rivers, and entrusting themselves to human smugglers. This book includes Zimbabweans of every age, class, and political conviction, from farm laborers to academics, doctors to artists, opposition leaders to ordinary Zimbabweans; men and women simply trying to survive as a once-thriving nation heads for collapse.


Hope Deferred might be the most important publication to have come out of Zimbabwe in the past thirty years.”

Alexandra Fuller, Harper’s Magazine


Peter Orner edited Underground America and co-edited Hope Deferred, and is the author of four books of fiction, including the novels The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love. His most recent book, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and named a Favorite Book of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal.
Annie Holmes was born in Zambia and raised in Zimbabwe. She has taught high school, run a book editing department, made documentaries and television, and led communications for feminist organizing and health research in the U.S. and UK. She now lives in London, but Zimbabwe is always home.
Brian Chikwava is a London-based Zimbabwean writer and author of the novel Harare North, which won the Outstanding First Creative Published Work category in Zimbabwe’s National Arts Merit Awards and was also longed listed for the George Orwell Prize. He is a previous winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and a former Charles Pick Fellow at the University of East Anglia. Chikwava is currently working on his second novel.