Evaristo highlights 20 Black women writers for International Women’s Day

Booker-winning writer Bernardine Evaristo has marked International Women’s Day by curating a top 20 list of recently published Black British writers.

Crossfire by Malorie Blackman (Penguin), Ordinary People by Diane Evans (Vintage) and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze) feature on the list of what Evaristo referred to as “womxn” writers, a term used to explicitly include trans women and non-binary writers.

The list, which also features rising stars like Theresa Lola, Irenosen Okojie and Alexandra Sheppard, was unveiled at the Waterstones Bristol Galleries branch and has been made available in libraries across Bristol.

Evaristo explained: “Last year was particularly fruitful for writing by black womxn, with several début authors of non-fiction in particular, which is why they are well-represented in this list. It’s a field that’s been arid up to this point, signalling an absence of our conversations from the intellectual culture. Each book explores its own individual cultural territory, whether that of the natural world, or a fictionalised memoir of a young actress, or a recalibration of feminism through an African prism. There still aren’t many of us writing novels or publishing poetry or children’s books, but the commercial and critical success of many of these titles makes me hopeful for the future.”

The curated list’s launch is part of a Bristol Literary Takeover, spearheaded by communications agency Words of Colour, to elevate the voices of black British emerging and mid-career women writers outside of London. It includes a career development workshop, to be run by Evaristo on 10th March at Bristol Old Vic.

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