Dambudzo Marechera was born in 1952 in Vengere, the township of Rusape, in the east of what was then Rhodesia. He was the third of nine children in a family which became destitute once his father was killed in a road accident in 1966. he gained a scholarship to study at New College, Oxford, where he was sent down in 1976 to live out his exile in Britain in a succession of squats for another six years. He hammered out the first draft of The House of Hunger on his portable typewriter in a matter of weeks. It won the Guardian First Novel Prize and was translated into six languages. Marechera died in 1987 after being diagnosed with AIDS.