Bernardine Evaristo: Nigerian Writer Becomes First Black Person to Win ‘Author of the Year’ British Award

Must Read

Fighting Slavery With Suicide: The Fascinating Story of Africa’s Kru People

The Kru or Kroo are a West African ethnic group who are indigenous to eastern Liberia. During the Slave trade era, they were also infamous amongst early European slave raiders as being especially averse to capture

The Mbuti People Of Congo And Their Sister Exchange Form Of Marriage

In the Mbuti tribe, marriage is by sister exchange: Based on reciprocal exchange, men from other bands exchange sisters...

Slavery Abolition Act 1833: Slavery Was Abolished Throughout The British Empire On This Day

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 that abolished slavery in most British colonies, freeing more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa and making the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal



Nigerian-British writer, Bernardine Anne Mobolaji Evaristo, has been named the author of the year at the British Book awards, the first black writer to ever win the category.

Nigerian Writer Becomes First Black Person to Win 'Author of the Year' British Award

The British Book awards, also known as the Nibbies, are produced by the UK’s book trade magazine, the Bookseller.

Ms Evaristo, who was the joint winner of last year’s Booker prize for her polyphonic novel, ‘Girl, Woman, Other’, also won the fiction category, snagging the prize ahead of her fellow Booker winner Margaret Atwood, renowned Canadian author of “The Testaments.”

Last month, the Nigerian novelist became the first black woman to top the fiction paperback charts in the UK, a development she described as surreal.

This was after a widespread criticism of UK publishing industry of having biases against black and Asian writers against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I’ve been writing for a very long time, and it’s incredibly gratifying to know that my work is finally reaching a wider readership. It’s also fantastic to see so many other books by writers of colour storming the charts.


“I’m pretty sure this is unprecedented. Of course, this has been triggered by the tragedy of George Floyd’s death and we should always remember that,” the novelist said in a report by the Guardian UK.

Ms Evaristo is a signatory to an open letter from a newly formed Black Writers’ Guild which is calling for sweeping change in the British publishing industry. Publishers are “definitely listening to us today.” she was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, another Nigeria writer, Oyinkan Braithwaite, won crime and thriller book of the year for her thriller novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer” which has received many nominations and won the Anthony award for Best First Novel.

Related:   Christiane Ossouka Raponda Appointed As First Female Prime Minister of Gabon

Bernardine Mobolaji Evaristo | Biography

Nigerian Writer Becomes First Black Person to Win 'Author of the Year' British Award

Evaristo was born in Eltham, south-east London, and christened Bernardine Anne Mobolaji Evaristo. She was raised in Woolwich. She is the fourth of eight children born to her white English mother, and her Nigerian father, who migrated to Britain in 1949 and became a welder and local Labour councillor.

Evaristo was educated at Greenwich Young People’s Theatre, Eltham Hill Grammar School for Girls, the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and Goldsmiths College, University of London, from where she received her doctorate in creative writing in 2013.

In 2019 she was appointed Woolwich Laureate by the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, reconnecting to and writing about the home town she left when she was 18.

Evaristo is the author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora.

Two of her books, The Emperor’s Babe (2001) and Hello Mum (2010), have been adapted into BBC Radio 4 dramas.

Related:   U.K. School Hires 10-Year-Old Nigerian Tech Prodigy As Its New Coding Instructor

In July 2019, her novel “Girl, Woman, Other” was longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2019 Gordon Burn Prize.The novel was on the Booker Prize shortlist announced on 3 September 2019, alongside books by Chigozie Obioma, Salman Rushdie and Elif Shafak, and on 14 October won the prize jointly with Atwood’s The Testaments.

The win made her the first black woman and first black British author to win the prize.

Girl, Woman, Other was shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The novel was chosen by former US President Barack Obama as one of his 19 favourite books of 2019.

She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and the vice-chair of the Royal Society of Literature.



Talk Africana
Fascinating Cultures and history of peoples of African origin in both Africa and the African diaspora

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to receive email updates

With a subscription profile, you automatically receive updates without having to return to the website and check for changes

Just In

Fighting Slavery With Suicide: The Fascinating Story of Africa’s Kru People

The Kru or Kroo are a West African ethnic group who are indigenous to eastern Liberia. During the Slave trade era, they were also infamous amongst early European slave raiders as being especially averse to capture

The Mbuti People Of Congo And Their Sister Exchange Form Of Marriage

In the Mbuti tribe, marriage is by sister exchange: Based on reciprocal exchange, men from other bands exchange sisters or other females in his...

Slavery Abolition Act 1833: Slavery Was Abolished Throughout The British Empire On This Day

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 that abolished slavery in most British colonies, freeing more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa and making the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal

According To Reputation Poll International (PI), These Are The 100 Most Reputable Africans In 2020

Reputation Poll International, a leading global reputation-management firm, has released the 2020 list of 100 Most Reputable Africans. The list features 47 women and 53...

Ndubisi Egbo — The Nigerian Coach Who Overcame Racism To Guide His Team To UEFA Champions League

The first African coach to take a team to the European Champions League, Ndubisi Egbo of Albanian side KF Tirana, has spoken of the...

More Articles Like This