Author of the Year

Winner - Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo

Back in 2001, The Bookseller described Bernardine Evaristo’s début novel The Emperor’s Babe as “something completely different: a fresh and original historical novel, narrated in verse”. Six novels followed, with Evaristo exploring ideas of race, class and migration, producing bold, innovative and daring work. Long acknowledged and admired as a “writer’s writer”, 2019 saw Evaristo become the author everyone was talking about with her eighth novel Girl, Woman, Other, an ambitious novel in 12 voices that dazzled critics and readers. The novel was a cultural event; it also saw her make history as the first black woman to win the Booker. According to Hamish Hamilton, it arrived at just the right moment. In the wake of Brexit and the international #BlackLivesMatter movement, Girl, Woman, Other spoke to a national crisis of identity, and the urgent necessity of greater access and representation for people of colour. The “revolutionary moment” (Guardian) of the Booker win was the culmination of a long literary career, during which Evaristo has consistently shared her richly distinctive, endlessly innovative voice. She has since used her platform to advocate for a better, more inclusive publishing business, and a more equal society. For this and more, she is The British Book Awards’ Author of the Year.

Video: Bernardine Evaristo in conversation

Bernardine Evaristo, Author of the Year and Fiction Book of the Year winner for Girl, Woman, Other talks to The Bookseller's Associate Editor, Caroline Sanderson, about her award-studded year, as well as her more than 20 year career as a writer who loves to liberate herself from the shackles of convention.