Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo calls out BBC for ‘removing my name from history’

Evaristo became the first black woman to win the literary award when she was given it jointly with Margaret Atwood, but was omitted by name from a BBC broadcast about the Turner Prize

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 04 December 2019 13:05 GMT
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Bernardine Evaristo called out the BBC for failing to mention her by name when referencing the Booker Prize
Bernardine Evaristo called out the BBC for failing to mention her by name when referencing the Booker Prize

Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo has called out the BBC after a news item referred to the sharing of the literary award between Margaret Atwood and “another author”.

Evaristo, who became the first black woman to win the award this year, was given the prize jointly for her novel Girl, Woman, Other, and Atwood’s book The Testaments.

In the BBC broadcast, the presenter was discussing this year’s Turner Prize, which was split between the four shortlisted artists, when he made the comparison with the Booker Prize.

While he mentioned Atwood as one of the two winners, he failed to cite Evaristo by name, referring to her instead as “another author”.

Criticising the moment on Twitter, Evaristo wrote: “The BBC described me yesterday as “another author” apropos @TheBookerPrizes 2019. How quickly and 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 received words of support from fellow authors and journalists, who called the blunder “appalling” and “an unacceptable act of erasure”.

A BBC News spokesperson told The Independent that the presenter had forgotten Evaristo’s name while ad-libbing the Booker Prize reference.

“Our presenter was speaking live when he made the comparison between the Turner and Booker prize results – this part of the item was unscripted and he didn’t say Bernardine Evaristo’s name at the time,” the spokesperson said. “We apologise to her for the offence caused.”

The Independent has contacted Evaristo for comment,

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