Photograph by Jennie Scott via

Bernardine Evaristo, OBE, has been appointed president of Rose Bruford College, her alma mater. She is the first black woman to hold this position.

This latest honor comes after Evaristo’s recent appointments as Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature in Britain and honorary fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford.

Evaristo, who graduated from Rose Bruford in 1982, welcomed her appointment as a “powerful statement” on diversity, accessibility and racial awareness. “I think it’s really good to have a black woman as the head, even if it’s the titular head of a drama school, because it makes a very powerful statement,” she said. “It’s really important that it should be Rose Bruford where I am the president, because 40 years ago I was there as a student and in many ways that college was the making of me.”

Noting the historical exclusion of people of color at British drama schools, Evaristo said she hoped her appointment would disrupt the status quo and make drama schools more accessible for people from minority backgrounds. “If they see a black person in a position of power in an organisation, that makes it more attractive to students of colour, and not just somebody who’s in a position of power, but somebody who is an outspoken activist as I am.”

Brittle Paper congratulates Bernadine Evaristo.