Bernardine Evaristo holds a copy of her Girl, Woman, Other at Southbank Centre, London. Photo credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images.

Right after Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood were announced joint winners of the 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction, the UK’s The Guardian published a piece examining the judges’ decision to settle on two winners. The opinion, by the newspaper’s fiction editor Justine Jordan, was given a curious headline: “Booker judges split between huge event novel and obscure choice.” Atwood’s The Testament is, of course, the huge event novel and Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other would be the “obscure” one.

Except there is nothing obscure about a novel that centres the lives of Black British women like never before, in a polyphonic style the author calls “fusion fiction.” Except that this novel only minutes ago made its author the first Black woman and first Black British person to win this prize in a world filled with outstanding Black female writers. Except that Black people, and especially Black women, consistently see their achievements diminished by mainstream media.

There was no way the headline would have escaped Twitter. Kish Widyratna, an editor at the publishing house Picador, spotted it.


Minutes later, The Guardian changed the headline:

Here’s to hoping that no one else, even unintentionally, takes away from Bernardine Evaristo’s long creative and curatorial brilliance.

Congratulations to Bernardine Evaristo.


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