St Anne’s Honorary Fellow, Bernardine Evaristo, elected President of the Royal Society of Literature

We are pleased to share the news that St Anne’s Honorary Fellow, Professor Bernardine Evaristo, is to be the next president of the Royal Society of Literature, becoming the first writer of colour to hold the position.

Bernardine will take over from Marina Warner, making her only the second female president in the society’s 200-year history.

She said she was “deeply honoured” to be chosen as the organisation’s figurehead. The society was “boldly embracing the 21st century as a great champion of the possibilities of a more egalitarian culture for literature”, she added.

“Storytelling is embedded in our DNA as human beings – it is sewn into the narrative arc of our lives, it is in our relationships, desires and conflicts, and it is the prism through which we explore and understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Literature is not a luxury, but essential to our civilisation.

Bernardine Evaristo was the first black woman to win the Booker prize, and the award propelled her into the spotlight after six earlier novels. Girl, Woman, Other became a bestseller in many languages.

Many congratulations!