Bernardine is the award-winning author of seven books. She is also an editor, critic and essayist and her writing spans the genres of prose novels, verse-novels, a novel-with-verse, a novella, poetry, non-fiction and radio and theatre drama. Her latest novel, Mr Loverman, is about a 74 yr old Caribbean London man who is closet homosexual (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, 2013 & Akashic Books, US, 2014). Her writing is characterised by experimentation, daring, subverting and challenging the myths of various Afro-diasporic histories and identities. She has published widely in a variety of publications and anthologies.
Her awards include the EMMA Best Book Award, Big Red Read, Orange Youth Panel Award, a NESTA Fellowship Award and an Arts Council Writer’s Award. Her books have been a ‘Book of the Year’ thirteen times in British newspapers and magazines and The Emperor’s Babe was a Times ‘Book of the Decade’. Hello Mum has been chosen as one of twenty titles for World Book Night in 2014. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006, and she received an MBE in 2009.
Her books are: MR LOVERMAN (Penguin, 2013), HELLO MUM (Penguin 2010), LARA (Bloodaxe 2009), BlONDE ROOTS (Penguin 2008), SOUL TOURISTS (Penguin 2005), THE EMPEROR’S BABE (Penguin 2001), the first version of LARA (ARP 1997), ISLAND OF ABRAHAM (Peepal Tree, 1994). For more information visit BOOKS.
Her verse novel The Emperor’s Babe was adapted into a BBC Radio 4 play in 2013 and her novella Hello Mum was broadcast as a BBC Radio 4 play in 2012.
She is co-editor of two recent anthologies and a special issue of Wasafiri magazine: Black Britain: Beyond Definition, which celebrated and reevaluated the black writing scene in Britain. In 2012 she was guest editor of the winter issue of Poetry Review, Britain’s leading poetry journal, in its centenary year. Her issue, Offending Frequencies, featured more poets of colour than had ever previously been published in a single issue of the journal, as well as many female, radical, experimental and outspoken voices. She is guest-editing the September 2014 issue of Mslexia magazine.
Her literary criticism appears in the national newspapers such as the Guardian and Independent and she has judged many literary awards. In 2012 she was Chair of both the Caine Prize for African Fiction, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, a judge of Poetry News and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, and that year she also founded the Brunel University African Poetry Prize, now in it’s second year. http://www.africanpoetryprize.org/
Since 1997 she has accepted invitations to take part in over 80 international tours as a writer. She gives readings and delivers talks, keynotes, workshops and courses.
The first monograph on her work, Fiction Unbound by Sebnem Toplu, was published in August 2011 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. http://www.c-s-p.org/Flyers/Fiction-Unbound–Bernardine-Evaristo1-4438-3153-0.htm
Bernardine’s books have been translated into several languages including Mandarin.
Bernardine Evaristo was born in Woolwich, south east London, the fourth of eight children, to an English mother and Nigerian father. Her father was a welder and local Labour councillor and her mother a schoolteacher. She was educated at Eltham Hill Girls Grammar School, the Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama, and Goldsmiths, University of London, where she earned a PhD in Creative Writing. She spent her teenage years acting at Greenwich Young People’s Theatre.