Black writers dominate British Awards

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Bernardine Evaristo’s winning streak continues as she dominates two categories of the 2020 British Book Awards: Best Fiction Book of the Year for “Girl, Woman, Other” (2019), and Best Author of the Year.

She is the first black author to win Best Author of the Year, the first black woman and second Nigerian to win the Booker Prize, and the first female writer of colour to top the UK fiction paperback chart.

Evaristo has accepted each award with grace and joy at expanding her readership, using her ever-broadening platform to highlight the work of other black writers and advocate for greater equality in the publishing world.

Two other black writers had much to celebrate as well.

Candice Carty-Williams is the first Black writer to win Overal Book of the Year, and Oyinkan Braithwaite is the first black writer to win Best Crrime & Thriller Book of the Year.

In an Instgram post announcing her British Book Award wins, Evaristo writes:

“It’s taken me 40 years to step out of the shadows, but I always believed in myself and loved what I was doing. I didn’t do it for this moment, but this moment is sweet.

“But — many of you know me as a longstanding literary activist and that doesn’t change with my new platform. You can see my list of 20 recommended black British women in an earlier (March) post on here, or on Twitter (pinned), or on Facebook (open).

“I’ve resurrected it this week because I see it as my pleasure and responsibility to shine a light on other writers while enjoying being in the spotlight myself.”

As Evaristo says, “Let’s work towards a future where we no longer have these conversations because EVERYONE is included in the narrative.”

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s comic crime thriller, “My Sister, The Serial Killer” (2018), won the 2020 British Book Award for Crime Fiction Book of the Year.

The British Book Awards, also known as the Nibbies, are administered by the book trade magazine, The Bookseller.

Each year, the magazine awards prizes for Books of the Year in several categories.

The Bookseller judges praised Braithwaite’s fresh take on the crime fiction genre in “My Sister, The Serial Killer”: The comic writing and new approach to the crime and thriller genre ensured her first novel stood out in a crowded market.

“With a fascinating protagonist who is a brazen murderer but never gets caught, and no ‘whodunit’ element, it is the story of one sister blindly protecting another because, as the tagline reads, ‘blood is thicker than water’.”

Oyinka Braithwaite wrote a heartfelt post thanking Atlantic Books, The Bookseller, and congratulating Candice E Fox Carty-Williams and Bernardine Evaristo for winning Best Overall Book of the Year and Author of the Year respectively.

The 2020 British Book Awards were broadcast on YouTube on June 29. – Brittle Paper

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