Bernardine Evaristo


Bernadine Evaristo.jpg

Professor Bernardine Evaristo has written eight books of fiction and verse fiction including Mr Loverman (Penguin 2013), Lara (Bloodaxe 2009), Blonde Roots (Penguin 2008) and The Emperor’s Babe (Penguin 2001). Her other writing includes dramas and creative works and narratives for BBC Radio 3 & 4, as well as fiction, poetry, memoir, theatre drama, essays and journalism. She has also undertaken many editorships and writes literary criticism for the national newspapers and magazines.

Her writing is focused on African diaspora interests and is characterised by unique temporal, spatial and stylistic experiments that connect and explore the borders of genre, race, gender, culture, history and sexuality. She has accepted over 150 invitations to present her work and ideas world-wide and frequently appears at literary events in Britain. She has also judged and chaired many literary prizes and founded The Complete Works poetry development scheme for poets of colour in 2007 and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2011.

She earned her PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London, and has received many honours, awards, nominations & prestigious selections for her book. Two monographs have been published about her writing since 2011.

In 2004 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; in 2006 she was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (and is currently their Vice Chair); and in 2017 she was elected a Fellow of the English Association.

In 2009 she was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for being ‘a major voice in the multicultural panorama of multicultural British literature’.

Research area(s)

  • A wide range of contemporary British fiction
  • All kinds of international/multi-culture fiction
  • Historical fiction and alternate universe
  • Afro-diaspora interests
  • Verse fiction/ experimental fiction


Research interests

Bernardine’s literature has fused history with the contemporary, explored the relationship between Britain, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the African Diaspora, and negotiated the boundaries of form, fusing fiction and poetry with (in Soul Tourists) more experimental techniques.

This is manifested thus:

Her novel Mr Loverman is told by a 74 year old Caribbean Londoner who is closet gay, alongside the parallel narrative of his deeply religious wife, Carmel.
In her satirical novel Blonde Roots she invented a parallel universe where Africans enslave Europeans.

Her polyvocal verse-novel Lara is based on 150 years of her family history spanning England, Nigeria, Ireland, Germany and Brazil.

The Emperor’s Babe is a verse novel about a black girl in Roman London 1800 years ago - made  both historical and contemporary through anachronism.

Soul Tourists explores a modern-day couple travelling across Europe and the appearance of  European ghosts of colour going back to Hannibal 2500 years ago.

Her novella Hello Mum gives voice to a 14 yr old London boy who gets involved in gang life on a London estate.



Dr Evaristo teaches Creative Writing at BA, MA and PhD level.


Selected Publications

Journal articles

Evaristo, B.   (2008)   'CSI Europe African trace elements. Fragments. Reconstruction. Case histories. Motive. Personal'. WASAFIRI, 23 (4).  pp. 2 - 7. doi: 10.1080/02690050802407722 


Evaristo, B.  and Nagra. D.   (2010) Ten.  Bloodaxe Books 

Evaristo, B.   (2010) Hello Mum.  Penguin 

Evaristo, B.   (2009) Lara.  Bloodaxe Books 

Evaristo, B.   (2008) Blonde Roots.  Penguin 

Evaristo, B.   (2005) Soul Tourists.  Penguin 

Evaristo, B.   (2001) The Emperor's Babe.  Penguin 

Evaristo, B.   (1994) Island of Abraham.  Peepal Tree Press 


Evaristo, B.   (2011) 'The Book that Changed Me', essay written & read by the author. [BBC Radio 3].  

Evaristo, B.   (Accepted) On Top of the World. [BBC Radio 4].  

Evaristo, B.   (2003) Medea, Mapping the Edge. [BBC Radio 3 & Sheffield Crucible & Around Sheffield].  

Evaristo, B.   (2003) Cityscapes. [BBC Radio 3].  

Evaristo, B.   (2003) Madame Bitterfly & the Stockwell Diva. [BBC Radio 4].  

Page last updated: Wednesday 05 July 2017