The inaugural edition of the Bernardine Evaristo Scholarship has been awarded to newcomer and YA author Rachel Faturoti.

Launched in May, the scholarship is run by Brunel University London, where Evaristo is a Professor of Creative Writing, and funded by Evaristo herself. It invites submissions of up to 2000 words of original fiction or ten pages of poetry from Black and Asian writers. The winner is offered a fully-funded scholarship for a graduate program at Brunel University.

According to the organizers, Rachel’s work “stood-out for its particularly high quality and depth.”

Rachel, who began writing her first YA novel in 2018 and is set to publish two novels in 2022, said the award felt “surreal” and she was grateful to be its inaugural recipient. Reoccurring themes in her work include gentrification, grief and mental health. “I am very passionate about Black representation in children’s fiction,” She said.

Evaristo hailed Rachel as very deserving of the scholarship. “The quality of her writing demonstrates that she has enormous potential,” she said.

This adds to the list of writer-support initiative founded by Evaristo, who also supports the annual The Brunel International African Poetry Prize, among others.

Congratulations to Rachel Faturoti.