Bernardine Anne Mobolaji Evaristo is a British author and academic. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other, jointly won the Booker Prize in 2019 alongside Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, making her the first woman with Black heritage to win the Booker. Evaristo is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and President of the Royal Society of Literature, the second woman and the first person with Black heritage to hold the role since it was founded in 1820.
Evaristo is a longstanding advocate for the inclusion of writers and artists of colour. She founded the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, 2012–2022, and initiated The Complete Works poetry mentoring scheme, 2007–2017. She co-founded Spread the Word writer development agency with Ruth Borthwick (1995–present) and Britain's first black women's theatre company (1982–1988), Theatre of Black Women. She organised Britain's first major black theatre conference, Future Histories, for the Black Theatre Forum, (1995) at the Royal Festival Hall, and Britain's first major conference on black British writing, Tracing Paper (1997) at the Museum of London.
Evaristo has received more than 77 honours, awards, fellowships, nominations and other tokens of recognition. She is a lifetime Honorary Fellow of St Anne's College, University of Oxford and International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2021, she succeeded Sir Richard Eyre as President of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. Evaristo was Vice-Chair of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) and in 2020 she became a lifetime vice president, before becoming president (2022–2026). She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's 2009 Birthday Honours, and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's 2020 Birthday Honours, both for services to literature.