Bernardine Evaristo won the Booker Prize in 2019 for her novel, Girl, Woman, Other. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London.
Bernardine was born in May 1959, the fourth of eight children, to an English mother and a Nigerian father. She grew up in Woolwich in south London, and was educated at Eltham Hill Girls’ Grammar School. She spent her teenage years at the Greenwich Young People’s Theatre and, after deciding that she wanted to be a professional actor at the age of 14, did a Community Theatre Arts course at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama.
After graduation she founded the Theatre of Black Women with two fellow students in the early 1980s and they began to write roles for themselves. By the late 1980s, she had decided that it was the writing she enjoyed most.
Her first poetry collection was published in 1994, followed by a semi-autobiographical verse novel called Lara three years later. More books followed, experimenting with form and narrative perspective, often merging the past with the present, prose with poetry, the factual with the speculative, and reality with alternate realities. Girl, Woman, Other is her eighth book.
A longstanding activist and advocate, Bernardine has initiated several successful schemes to ensure increased representation of artists and writers of colour in the creative industries.
She is married to David, who she met in 2006, and lives in London.
DISC ONE: Malaika by Angélique Kidjo
DISC TWO: Zombie by Fela Kuti
DISC THREE: Breaths by Sweet Honey in the Rock
DISC FOUR: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone
DISC FIVE: Woyaya by Osibisa
DISC SIX: Köln, January 24, 1975, part I by Keith Jarrett
DISC SEVEN: Things Have Changed by Bob Dylan
DISC EIGHT: Fight The Power by Public Enemy
BOOK CHOICE: The Norton Anthology of Poetry by Margaret Ferguson), Tim Kendall and Mary Jo Salter
LUXURY ITEM: A hologram of Bernardine's husband
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Köln, January 24, 1975, part I by Keith Jarrett
Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale