Candice Carty-Williams and Bernardine Evaristo have become the first black authors to win the top prizes at the British Book awards, landing the book of the year and author of the year gongs respectively. Carty-Williams took the book of the year accolade on Monday night for Queenie, her debut novel about a young black woman navigating life and love in London. She beat titles including Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to the award, which is judged on quality of writing, innovation of publishing, and sales.
Evaristo, the joint winner of last year’s Booker prize for her polyphonic novel Girl, Woman, Other, was named author of the year at the British Book awards, also making her the first black writer to win in that category. Evaristo also won the fiction category, beating her fellow Booker winner Margaret Atwood to the prize. The novelist, who became the first black British woman to top the fiction paperback charts earlier this month, said she was honoured.
“This is such an interesting moment in our cultural history because the Black Lives Matter movement has generated anEvaristo
unprecedented amount of self-interrogating in the publishing industry,” said Evaristo, who described her recent experience
topping the charts as “quite surreal”.
Overall, this win makes me hopeful that although I’m the first, the industry are waking up to the fact that I shouldn’t andCarty-Williams
won’t be the last,”