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Author Bernardine Evaristo to become the next president of the Royal Society of Literature

7/02/2022 10:49 PM
Author Bernardine Evaristo to become the next president of the Royal Society of Literature

Acclaimed novelist Bernardine Evaristo will become the next president of the Royal Society of Literature, becoming the first writer of colour in the position.

The Royal Society of Literature was founded in 1820 and provides a platform to support and recognise emerging and established writers.

Professor Bernadine Evaristo said: ‘I am deeply honoured to take on the role of the new President of the Royal Society of Literature. Although founded two hundred years ago, the Society is boldly embracing the twenty-first century as a great champion of the possibilities of a more egalitarian culture for literature. Storytelling is embedded in our DNA as human beings – it is sewn into the narrative arc of our lives, it is in our relationships, desires and conflicts, and it is the prism through which we explore and understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Literature is not a luxury, but essential to our civilisation.’

She will be taking over the position from Professor Dame Marina Warner who will retire at the end of 2021. Professor Dame Marina Warner said: ‘Bernardine Evaristo is one of literature’s most passionate and effective advocates. She is a garlanded writer of brilliant inventiveness and long been a leading inspiration in the vision of the RSL. In the lingering aftermath of the pandemic, her vivid, strong spirit, experience and dedication will bring fresh dynamism and energy to all our plans and activities.’

In 2019 Evaristo’s novel, Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker Prize, making her the first black woman to win the award. She said she was proud to be ‘the figurehead of such an august and robust literature organisation that is so actively and urgently committed to being inclusive of the widest range of outstanding writers from every demographic and geographical location in Britain, and to reaching marginalised communities through literature projects, including introducing young people in schools to some of Britain’s leading writers who visit, teach and discuss their work with them. I look forward to the next four years as the figurehead of such a wonderfully impressive organisation.’