Born in Gweru in 1957 and was educated at Goromonzi High School and the University of Zimbabwe, where he studied literature and education. He gained an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa, USA, in 1985, a year after he had attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University.
He is the author of several books including Harvest of Thorns, for which he won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1990. His short story "Can We Talk", included in Can We Talk and Other Stories, was shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000.
Chinodya has worked extensively as a curriculum developer, materials designer, editor and screen writer. He has been awarded various fellowships abroad and from 1995 to 1997 was the Distinguished Visiting Professor in creative writing at St. Lawrence University, New York. He lives with his wife and family in Harare.