We are delighted to announce that Professor Bernardine Evaristo, OBE, FRSL, FEA, has been elected an Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College.
Professor Evaristo is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University and an internationally acclaimed writer of poetry and prose; her eighth book, Girl, Woman, Other, won the 2019 Booker Prize, making her the first Black woman and the first Black British person to win the award. The novel was translated into 35 languages and was one of Barack Obama’s 19 Favourite Books of 2019.
Professor Evaristo’s writing includes short fiction, drama, poetry, essays, literary criticism, and projects that have been adapted for radio and the stage. A longstanding advocate for the inclusion of writers of colour, she is the founder of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and organised Britain’s first major conference on Black British writing, Tracing Paper, in 1997. She is currently co-curating a new book series for Penguin Random House: “Black Britain: Writing Back.”
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the importance of anti-racist teaching and practices is more pressing than ever, and it is our hope that the election of Professor Evaristo, with her wealth of experience, will help us to develop this further at St Anne’s. Professor Evaristo’s important work on inclusion represents a shining example for us all to follow, and aligns with our ongoing aim of being a diverse and inclusive community that aspires to understand the world and change it for the better.
Last night Professor Evaristo took part in an online discussion with St Anne’s Advisory Fellow, Tom Ilube, and some of the College’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic students as part of a networking event sharing experiences as students of colour within the Oxford community. We look forward to working with Professor Evaristo closely in the years to come and are excited to hear her speak to a wider audience at her inaugural lecture in 2021.
On her election, Professor Evaristo said: “I’m really keen to support St Anne’s College to broaden its culture and image so that ambitious students from all backgrounds see Oxford as a place where they are welcomed and can thrive.”