Bernardine Evaristo has made history as the first female writer of colour to top the UK fiction paperback chart. This is not the first time she is making history as she became the first black woman to win the Booker Prize in 2019 for her acclaimed novel Girl, Woman, Other. Published in 2019,Girl, Woman, Other is the eighth novel written by Bernardine Evaristo, by Hamish Hamilton. The novel revolves around the lives of 12 characters in the United Kingdom over several decades.
This same novel has several awards and appeared on several “best of” lists and shortlists. It received twenty-five Book of the Year and Decade honours, alongside recognition as one of Barack Obama’s Top 19 Books for 2019 and Roxane Gay’s Favourite Book of 2019. It currently features on many prize lists, including the shortlist for The Women’s Prize and The British Book Awards. The most recent milestone is Girl, Woman, Other has climbed to the No.1 spot on the UK fiction paperback chart, a record-setting achievement that makes Evaristo the first woman of colour to earn this honour.
This great news was discovered from her Twitter account: “I‘ve just heard that I am the FIRST female writer of colour to top the UK fiction paperback chart. The only other writer of colour was my fellow Bookeree @MarlonJames in 2015. Astonishing. (Writer of colour, mind, not just black.)”
For the No.1 spot for non-fiction, there is the fellow Black British author Reni Eddo-Lodge for her book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. This is an excellent achievement amidst the black lives matter protests and after black British authors called out the “hostile environment” of the UK publishing industry.
The Guardian in their report quotes Eddo-Logde saying that it is ‘“a horrible indictment of the publishing industry” that it had taken so long for a black British author to be No 1.’ Nevertheless, it is a great achievement for both authors. We, at Elsieisy, celebrate with them.
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