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Dr Bernardine Evaristo OBE is the author of ten internationally acclaimed books focusing on the African Diaspora. Besides its 2019 Booker Prize winner’Girl, Woman, Other‘, his writing spans a range of genres, including verse fiction, fiction, non-fiction, as well as theater and radio drama. She is also a well-known champion for inclusion in education and the arts.
Queen Mary awarded Bernardine a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) not only to recognize the outstanding distinction of her literary works, which were taught at the university’s School of English and Drama for decades, but also for her. activism and advocacy. The 63-year-old has been a leading voice calling for social justice and affecting structural change in the world of creative arts and education, particularly with regard to diversity at all levels of society and the inclusion of writers of color.
Dr. Evaristo has long supported and contributed to wasafiri, the contemporary international writing magazine based at Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama. In 2010, she co-edited a special black british problem‘Beyond Definition’, with poet Karen McCarthy Woolf.
wasafiri Susheila Nasta, Founding Editor and Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Queen Mary, said: “A fervent activist and advocate for the inclusion of artists and writers of color, Bernardine is an inspirational role model for our students, whose writing has long been engaged and moved. those of our school of English and drama.
“Throughout her career, she has always been generous in mentoring and supporting writers and professionals at all stages of their work – but Bernardine’s major contribution has been her determined determination to continue to challenge inequalities and to achieve structural and positive change for writers and especially writers of color in the arts and publishing sectors.
In addition to this new DLitt degree, Dr. Evaristo has received numerous honorary distinctions. The University’s patron, Queen Elizabeth II, awarded him an OBE in 2020 following his MBE in 2009. Last year, The bookstore named Dr. Evaristo their “Personality of the Year”. She was also voted one of the 100 Great Black Britons in 2020 and made the Black Powerlist 100 in 2021 and 2022.
In 2019, Dr Evaristo became the first Woolwich winner of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival. Other honors include fellowships at the Royal Society of Arts, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, English Association and St Anne’s College, Oxford. In 2021 she was appointed President of the Rose Bruford College of Theater & Performance, and in 2022 she became President of the Royal Society of Literature – the first black woman to hold this position.
Books include ‘Feminism’ (2021), an investigation into the representation of women of color in British art; ‘Manifesto’ (2021), a memoir; “Mr Loverman” (2014), a novel about a gay man from Antigua-London; ‘Hello Mum’ (2010), a short story in the voice of a teenager; “Lara” (2009), a verse novel based on her family history covering England, Nigeria, Ireland, Germany and Brazil; ‘Blonde Roots’ (2008), a prose novel in which Africans enslave Europeans; “Soul Tourists” (2005), a verse novel on contemporary and historical Europe; and “The Emperor’s Babe” (2001), a verse novel set in Roman London. These have been translated into over 40 languages, including Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, Italian and Mandarin.