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 first non-fiction, a memoir, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up was published in 2021. Her writing spans fiction, poetry, drama, literary criticism and non-fiction, and her many honours include two British Book Awards. 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 is the curator of the series Black Britain: Writing Back (Penguin Random House), whereby books from the past are republished for a contemporary audience. She initiated the Arts Council-funded Free Verse report (2006) and The Complete Works mentoring scheme (2007-2017), which was 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.