Putting History in Its Place: An Interview with Bernardine Evaristo

Posted in Articles, Biography, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2015-12-15 02:34Z by Steven

Putting History in Its Place: An Interview with Bernardine Evaristo

Contemporary Women’s Writing
Volume 9 Issue 3 November 2015
pages 433-448
DOI: 10.1093/cww/vpv003

Jennifer Gustar, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Bernardine Evaristo was born in Woolwich, London, to an English mother of Irish descent and a Nigerian father, who had immigrated to the UK. She has been actively publishing since the release of her first book of poetry, Island of Abraham (1994). She has published six other works since: the semiautobiographical Lara (1997); The Emperor’s Babe (2001), a novel in verse, based in Roman Londinium; Soul Tourists (2005), a hybrid of poetry and prose that explores the spectral black history of Europe; Blonde Roots (2008), a satirical novel that inverts the historical realities of the transatlantic slave trade; Hello Mum (2010), an epistolary novella that explores a fourteen-year-old boy’s sense of disenfranchisement and the consequent lure of gang culture; and, most recently, Mr. Loverman (2013), the story of a closeted homosexual Trinidadian-British Londoner, who must confront the damage perpetuated by his own silences. Evaristo has served as coeditor of two literary anthologies: NW15 (Granta/British Council, 2007) and Ten New Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010). As editor, she has been instrumental in both mentoring and promoting the visibility of black British writers. In 2010, she guest-edited an issue of Wasafiri, entitled Black Britain: Beyond Definition, that celebrates contemporary black writing in the UK. Her 2012 guest-edited volume of the UK’s leading poetry journal Poetry Review, entitled Offending Frequencies, features more poets of color than any previous single issue. In September of 2014, she investigated the publishing industry’s attitude toward women of color as guest editor of Mslexia. She currently works as a Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University, where, in 2011, she instituted the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Two of her works have been adapted for radio: The Emperor’s Babe for BBC 1 (2012) and Hello Mum for BBC 4 (2012). She was elected Fellow of the…

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