British-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo founded the Brunel prize in 2012. She won the Booker Prize 2019 with her eighth book, Girl, Woman, Other, the first black woman and black British person to win it. Her latest book is a memoir, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up (UK, 2021/ USA 2022). Her many honours include British Book Awards and she is a Forbes ’50 Over 50′ honoree 2022. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London; an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford; International Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance; and President of the Royal Society of Literature. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009 and an OBE in 2020.
As a long time advocate for writers of colour, she initiated the Arts Council Free Verse report (2006) and The Complete Works mentoring scheme (2007-2017, led by Dr. Nathalie Teitler) to address the underrepresentation of Black and Asian poets in British poetry presses. In 1995 she co-founded Spread the Word, London’s premier writer development organisation and in the 1980s Bernardine she co-founded Britain’s first black women’s theatre company, Theatre of Black Women.