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Bernardine Evaristo. Photo credit: Jennie Scott.

Bernardine Evaristo’s eighth book, Girl, Woman, Other, was released on May 2 by Penguin Random House imprint Hamish Hamilton. The Nigerian-British Brunel University creative writing professor, a dynamic visionary best known in the African literary scene as the founder of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, the continent’s most influential poetry institution, is a prolific writer of fiction. She is the author of the experimental novels The Emperor’s Babe (2001), Soul Tourists (2005), and Lara (2009), of the novella Hello Mum (2010), of the formal novels Blonde Roots (2008) and Mr Loverman (2013), and of the poetry collection Island of Abraham (1994).

The founder of The Complete Works, a poetry mentorship programme whose attendees have gone on to win top poetry prizes in the UK, and co-founder of Theatre of Black Women and of the writer development agency Spread the Word, Evaristo’s career of writing and activism has seen her receive an MBE, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, EMMA Best Book Award, and the Publishing Triangle Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction. This year, she was named the inaugural Woolwich Laureate by the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival.

Girl, Woman, Other has been hailed by Elle as “a choral love song to black womanhood in modern Great Britain.” Here is a description by its publishers:

Teeming with life and crackling with energy – a love song to modern Britain, to black womanhood, to the ever-changing heart of London.

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

Girl, Woman, Other comes with considerable praise, including from Ali Smith, Warsan Shire, Elif Shafak, and Diana Evans.

“Bernardine Evaristo can take any story from any time and turn it into something vibrating with life,” writes Ali Smith. Diana Evans, who “didn’t think I could love a Bernardine Evaristo novel more than The Emperor’s Babe,” suggests that “with Girl, Woman, Other she might just have outdone herself.”

For Elif Shafak: “Bernardine Evaristo is one of those writers who should be read by everyone, everywhere. Her tales marry down-to-earth characters with engrossing story lines about identity, and the UK of today.”

“Hilarious, heartbreaking & honest,” writes Warsan Shire. “Generations of women and the people they have loved and unloved – the complexities of race, sex, gender, politics, friendship, love, fear and regret. The complications of success, the difficulties of intimacy. I truly haven’t enjoyed reading a book in so long.”

Brittle Paper congratulates Bernardine Evaristo.

Get Girl, Woman, Other on Amazon.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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