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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Joint winners Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo attend The 2019 Booker Prize Winner Announcement at The Guildhall on October 14, 2019 in London, England.

British-Nigerian Writer Bernardine Evaristo Wins Joint Booker Prize With Margaret Atwood

Evaristo is the first black woman to win the prize, but not everyone is pleased that she had to split the award.

History was made yesterday as the Booker Prize was awarded to British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo for her novel "Girl, Woman, Other," beating out four others including fellow Nigerian Chigozie Obioma. It marked the first time the prestigious literary award was given to a black woman and only the second time it has been given to a Nigerian (Ben Okri in 1995 for "The Famished Road"). In another historical twist for the event, Evaristo shared the award with famous Canadian author Margaret Atwood for her novel "The Testaments," the long awaited sequel to fan-favorite "The Handmaid's Tale." This is the third time the award has been split in its 50 year history and Brittle Paper reports that the judges described the decision as "explicitly flouting" the rules.


For Evaristo, who is also a professor of creative writing at Brunel University, this was her eighth book and the first time she was ever seriously considered for the award. Her novel is a work of experimental fiction that follows 12 characters, mostly black women, as they navigate modern day England. Elle magazine described the work as "a choral love song to black womanhood in modern Great Britain."

Thanks to her illuminating views, clever word use and unrelenting championing of black women, black voices and black lives—Evaristo has been able to solidify the lives of black women in a well respected literary vault.

While Evaristo's win is undoubtedly impressive and laudable, the fact that it's the first win by a black woman in the prize's 50 year history, as well as the decision to split the first black woman's award is causing a bit of a stir from observers on social media.

When asked if she would rather not have split the award, Evaristo replied "What do you think? Yes, but I'm happy to share it. That's the kind of person I am."

Evaristo penned a reflection on race and representation for The Guardian just one week before the prize. "What, then, does it mean to not see yourself reflected in your nation's stories? This has been the ongoing debate of my professional career as a writer stretching back nearly 40 years, and we black British women know, that if we don't write ourselves into literature, no one else will."

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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