Living Published Women Poets in the UK
Bernardine Evaristo
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Bernardine Evaristo poet

Bernardine Evaristo was born in London where she still lives.


Hello Mum novella (Penguin, 2010)

Blonde Roots novel (Penguin 2008; Penguin USA 2010)

Soul Tourists novel with verse (Penguin 2005)

The Emperor’s Babe novel in verse (Penguin, 2001)

Lara novel in verse (Angela Royal Publishing, 1997; reprinted by Bloodaxe 2009)

Island of Abraham (Peepal Tree, 1994)

As Editor

Ten with Daljit Nagra (Bloodaxe, 2010)

New Writing Anthology NW15 with Maggie Gee (Granta, 2007)

Bernardine Evaristo has an English mother and Nigerian father and originally trained as an actor and worked in theatre. Her work often explores her characters’ roots and sense of belonging. In 1999 she was awarded an Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award (EMMA) for Best Book/Novel for Lara. She is associate editor of Wasafiri and co-edited with Karen McCarthy Woolf a special issue in December 2010, Black Britian: Beyond Definition published in December 2010. After initiating an Arts Council report, Free Verse, into why black and Asian poets were not getting published in the UK, Bernardine Evaristo founded a poets’ mentoring scheme, The Complete Works, with literature development agency Spread the Word. There are ten poets on the first programme whose work was featured in Ten.

In 2003 her multi-media collaboration with saxophonist Andy Sheppard and pianist Joanna MacGregror, Cityscapes, was featured in the City of London Festival. A second multi-media poetry, music and video performance was held at St Bartholowmew’s Church at Smithfields in London. Her poem Routes is on permanent display in the Museum of London. Arts Council England commissioned Bernardine Evaristo to write a text for one of their Oyster (travel) card holders to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2007.

The Emperor’s Babe was voted one of the ‘100 Best Books of the Decade’ in 2009 by The Times newspaper. Her books have been named ‘Book of the Year’ in The Times, Financial Times, New Statesman, The Telegraph, and Blonde Roots was one of the ‘Best Books of 2009’ in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has been translated into Czech, Finnish and Italian. In 2010, 40000 copies of Hello Mum were distributed throughout Suffolk as Bernardine Evaristo was Suffolk’s Big Read author. The novella is also being adapted for BBC Radio 4.

Bernardine Evaristo has been a Visiting Professor at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York, writer in residence at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town and Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia. In 2000 along with novelist Glenn Patterson, Bernardine Evaristo represented Britain on Literaturexpress Europa, which took 105 European writers through eleven countries. Currently she is a visiting tutor at Goldsmith’s College, University of London and a Creative Writing Fellow at Oxford Brookes University.

She writes book reviews for The Times, The Guardian, Independent and Financial Times newspapers. She has also written for theatre and drama and fiction for BBC Radio 4. Madame Bitterfly and The Stockwell Diva was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2003 and 2006. She co-wrote Mapping the Edge with Alison Fell and Amanda Dalton which was produced at the Sheffield Crucible theatre.

Bernardine Evaristo is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts. In 2009 she was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her contribution to the multicultural panorama of British literature. She is a patron of Westminster Befriend A Family, a voluntary organisation which works with disadvantaged families in the Westminster area of London.

Official website http://bevaristo.wordpress.com/

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