Outrage as the BBC Refers to Joint Booker Prize Winner Bernardine Evaristo as 'Another Author'
The first Black woman to win the literary prize, the BBC causally refers to Bernardine Evaristo as just 'another author'.
Bernardine Evaristo became the first Black woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize in October of this year. Contrary to the Booker Prize award rules, and to the marked displeasure of many, the British-Nigerian writer was forced to split the award with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood who had been the recipient of the award exactly a decade before.
However, a BBC news segment covering the 2019 Booker Prize described the award being given to Atwood and 'another author'. There has been tremendous outrage on social media from both fans and Evaristo who feel that the failure to name her is the beginning of an erasure of important history including Black people.
In a recent social media post, Evaristo calls out the BBC and speaks out against her historic win in the literary community being casually erased." She writes, "...The BBC described me yesterday as 'another author' apropos the 2019 Booker Prize. How quickly & casually they have removed my name from history - the first black woman to win it. This is what we've always been up against folks."
Evaristo's novel Girl, Woman, Other represents the first time that the Booker Prize has ever acknowledged and held in any esteem the work of a black woman writer. The only other Nigerian writer to receive the award was Ben Okri for his 1995 novel Famished Road. While it can be argued that the acknowledgement in itself is problematic (because it makes invisible the multitude of equally important works by black woman writers in the past) it remains an irrefutable part of history. And to refer to Evaristo as just "another author" plays into the erasure of that same history.
Some have labelled the BBC's news segment as "sloppy", "disrespectful" and yet another of the news outlet's series of "editorial mistakes". The BBC has not issued any response to the matter as of yet.
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