Bernardine Evaristo, a Goldsmiths, University of London alumna, has been jointly-awarded this year’s Booker Prize.
At an event broadcast live on the BBC News Channel on 14 October 2019 Evaristo was awarded the Prize for her novel ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ alongside Margaret Atwood who won for her novel ‘The Testaments’. The 2019 winners will share the £50,000 prize money.
Evaristo, who lives in London and whose writing spans fiction, essays, drama, and verse, graduated from Goldsmiths’ Department of English and Comparative Literature with a PhD in Creative Writing in 2013.
‘Girl, Woman, Other’ follows the lives and struggles of 12 very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. The judges described it as: “A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood. This is an impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves… This is a novel that deserves to be read aloud and to be performed and celebrated in all kinds of media.”
The New Statesman said of Evaristo that “if you want to understand modern day Britain, this is the writer to read”, and called ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ “a story for our times.” Stylist meanwhile described it as ‘'Exceptional. Ambitious, flowing and all-encompassing, an offbeat narrative that'll leave your mind in an invigorated whirl’.
‘Girl, Woman, Other’ is published by Penguin Random House imprint Hamish Hamilton. The winners were chosen by a panel of five judges: founder and director of Hay Festival Peter Florence (Chair); former fiction publisher and editor Liz Calder; novelist, essayist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo; writer, broadcaster and former barrister Afua Hirsch; and concert pianist, conductor and composer Joanna MacGregor.