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Bernardine Evaristo: GLAMOUR’s Women of the Year Gamechanging Author on how winning the Booker Prize gave her a platform for activism



Our Gamechanging Author Bernardine Evaristo rightly earned her title when, in 2019, she became the first Black woman and the first Black British person to win the Booker Prize with her eighth book, Girl, Woman, Other.

Counting Barack Obama among her legions of fans, she has been a force for change over the past two decades, endlessly campaigning for the Black Lives Matter movement and championing inclusivity within the publishing industry.

In October last year, it was announced Evaristo would be curating a new book series, Black Britain: Writing Black, which will see her bring past books by Black writers back into print.

Here, the winner of our GLAMOUR Women of The Year 2021 Gamechanging Author award reveals why setbacks can be a good thing, and her hopes for a more diverse literary scene.

Q What has been the biggest gamechanging moment in your life?

A Winning the Booker Prize 2019 completely revolutionised my career for the better and gave me a huge platform for my activism.

Q What’s the biggest challenge you have faced personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?

A I was once in a very toxic relationship where I allowed another person to dominate me. The solution was to leave that person and I never again allowed someone to hold such sway over me.

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Q What was a turning point for you in using and finding your own voice?

A There was no single turning point but rather a slow progression as a writer over decades where I discovered my own unique way of writing novels, which changes from book to book, and likewise, a slow evolution as an individual whereby I developed my ideas about society and found my voice in articulating them.

Q Who is your gamechanging hero?

A My white mother married my father, a Black man, in 1950s Britain in spite of extreme opposition from her side of the family. She showed me as a young child that it was important to beat prejudice and that our similarities as human beings are more important than our perceived racial differences.

Q What advice would you give to other women hoping to make change in their own pocket of the world?

A To believe in the power of social change and to take small steps towards making a difference in your own community. You will be developing your leadership skills, which one day might play out on the world stage.

Q What would be your one gamechanging piece of advice?

A To have a vision of where I want to be in my life, and to work towards it. There will be setbacks, but these will fortify you. This was taught to me and this is what I want to pass on.

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Q It’s GLAMOUR’s 20th anniversary. In that time what is the biggest development you’ve seen in your field? How much further do we still have to go?

A The biggest development for Black British writers is that more of us are publishing than ever before. Yet this is still not enough.

Q What is your hope for women in your field – and in general – in the next 20 years?

A I’d like to see Black British women operating in every area of the literature ecosystem, not only as writers, but as commissioning editors, publicists, designers, right across to book critics, book sellers and festival programmers.

You can rewatch the first-ever virtual GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards and discover all our amazing winners here.



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