British writer Bernardine Evaristo is the author of eight books and numerous other works that span the genres of verse fiction, short fiction, poetry, essays, literary criticism, journalism, and radio and theatre drama. Her writing and projects are based around her interest in the African diaspora. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. In October 2021, her first non-fiction book, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up, will be published by Penguin UK & by Grove Atlantic USA 2022).
Bernardine’s novel Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker Prize 2019, the first black woman and black Briitsh person to win it in its fifty year history. The novel also won many other prizes including the British Book Award’s Fiction Book of the Year & Author of the Year, and the Indie Book Award for Fiction. It was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller for five weeks, the first woman of colour to achieve this position in the paperback fiction chart, spending 44 weeks in the Top 10. There are now over 50 translations of Bernardine’s books either published or in progress. She has received many awards, nominations and honours, including being voted one of 100 Great Black Britons in 2020. Her lifetime fellowships include: Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, 2004; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 2006; Honorary Fellow of the English Association, 2017; Fellow of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, 2018; Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford University, 2020 and International Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2021. She joined the governing Council of the Royal Society of Literature in 2016, was Vice Chair from 2017-2020, and became a lifetime Vice President in 2020. In 2021 she took on the role of the new President of Rose Bruford College. She received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 and an MBE in 2009.
In 2015 she wrote and presented a two-part BBC Radio 4 documentary called Fiery Inspiration: Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement. Her verse novel The Emperor’s Babe was adapted into a BBC Radio 4 play in 2013 and her novella Hello Mum was adapted as a BBC Radio 4 play in 2012.
She has edited several publications and is currently curating Black Britain: Writing Back, a new book series with Penguin UK re-publishing books which have been out of circulation. The first six books, all novels, were published on February 4th 2021. The oldest book on the list is Minty Alley (1936) by C.L.R. James. Her literary criticism appears in many national newspapers and magazines, she has judged many literary awards and is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund (USA) for all its publications and prizes.
Booker Prize Winner 2019
Sunday Times Bestseller
One of Barack Obama’s 19 Top Books 2019
‘It’s a triumphantly wide-ranging novel, told in a hybrid of prose and poetry…It’s also, to my mind, the strongest contender on the (Booker) shortlist. A big, bold, sexy book that cracks open a world that needs to be known…Evaristo’s job is to observe, broaden our minds and to be funny – often very funny indeed…’
– Sunday Times