With vivid originality, irrepressible wit and sly wisdom, Bernardine Evaristo presents a gloriously new kind of history for this old country.

Welcome to Britain and twelve very different people - mostly women, mostly Black - who call it home. Teeming with life and crackling with energy, Girl, Woman, Other follows them across the miles and down the years, through different generations and social classes, in this ever-dynamic, ever-expanding and utterly irresistible novel of our times.

The 2019 Booker Prize
Published by
Hamish Hamilton
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Bernadine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo

About the Author

Bernardine Evaristo is an Anglo-Nigerian author of books of fiction and verse. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other won the 2019 Booker Prize.
More about Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo, in her own words...

In the year after winning the Booker Prize, Bernardine Evaristo went on to speak about her career, the life of a writer, politics and more in a series of high-profile outlets and engagements. Here are some of her most memorable quotes.

“When I came of age, there was almost not a single book that you could find in this country that was about black British female experiences. We really were invisible in the culture in that sense, so we had to turn to the African American women writers because they were the ones who were being published.” 

From The Little Book That Could: How Bernardine Evaristo Became an International Writer-to-Watch in 2019, Vanity Fair, December 13 2019

Bernardine Evaristo looking at camera.

“I want people to be introduced to a range of black British womanhood and think: ‘This has opened me up to possibilities of who black women might be in society,’” she says. “It’s dangerous and reductive to think of my work as definitive.” 

From Bernardine Evaristo on sharing the Booker Prize, the ‘so-called Establishment’ and why Laurence Fox is in denial, inews, April 1 2020

Three women with their arms around each other, smiling.

“My Booker win and the success of a handful of others shouldn’t be taken to mean that the battle is won. Far from it. Each year, novels published by black British writers barely enter double figures. It is a longstanding problem. We know that people who read fiction are more empathetic because they are well-practised in stepping into the shoes of fictional characters who are different from themselves. This is not to say that novelists write to educate people, but we do accept that this might be a byproduct of our creative endeavours. As novelists, we envision the intimate realities of our characters, try to capture the essence of who they are, test their inner strength through which they grow and transform during the course of the story. The best writers create characters from a place of compassion and insight, because we are all multi-faceted beings with strengths and weaknesses and everything in between.” 

From “Literature Can Foster And Express Our Shared Humanity”: Bernardine Evaristo On The Importance Of Inclusive Publishing, Vogue, June 6, 2020


“We need to get our shit together, too: more of us need to be writing our stories into being at a publishable level, but these works don’t need to be “great” – because most novels are not “great”, however we define it, and a lot of writers don’t necessarily aspire to greatness. We need to be publishing novels in every genre – crime, thriller, historical, horror, romantic, experimental – for every type of reader, while acknowledging that the seemingly strict delineations of these genres are porous.” 

From The longform patriarchs, and their accomplices, the New Statesman/Goldsmiths lecture, October 2 2020

Woman looking at books on a shelf in a library.

What the judges said

‘A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood. This is an impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves.’

What the critics said

Annette Lapointe, New York Journal of Books

‘Evaristo’s facility with verse fiction is such that the text moves in utter harmony, without disruption. The novel flows seamlessly, like water, from through to thought, character to character […] The relatively brief sections given to each character allow the novel to maintain its flow without a core central plot. It remains, through each person’s eyes, eminently readable and emotionally intense.’

Annie Bostrom, Booklist

‘Evaristo uses minimal punctuation and fluid paragraphs for a high-velocity style of exposition. And, oh, what is exposed. Hearing from mothers and their children, teachers and their students across generations, readers might expect that they’ll get to see just what these characters can’t know about one another, but they won’t imagine the dazzling specificities nor the unspooling dramas; they will be entertained, educated, and riveted.’

Sarah Ladipo Manyika, New Statesman

‘As the novel progresses in clever twists and turns, the characters’ lives intersect, culminating in a surprise ending. Their moving tales of pain, joy and friendship are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and heritages: African, Caribbean, European. This is a story for our times. The language of Girl, Woman, Other is exuberant, bursting at the seams in delightful ways.’

Harvey Freedenberg, BookPage

‘In surveying Britain’s social history over more than a century through the interconnected lives of 12 characters, all of them black women (save for two exceptions), Bernardine Evaristo has set an ambitious agenda for herself. Both in substance and style, her vibrant novel Girl, Woman, Other achieves that goal with a striking gallery of the lives and loves, triumphs and heartbreaks of these dozen memorable human beings and the world they inhabit […] Evaristo never stumbles in her ability to portray these figures with empathy, honesty and, at times, sharp humor. In every case, she skillfully reveals their struggles to define what it means to live meaningfully as spouses, lovers, friends and simply good people.’

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

‘Other indelible characters, all plugged into Evaristo’s ever-expanding web, come and go within Girl‘s pages, each one immediately, recognizably human but still somehow far from archetype. Maybe the book’s most ingenious trick, though, is that its reflections on race and feminism hardly ever feel like polemics; there’s just too much pure vivid life on every page.’

Listen to an extract from Girl, Woman, Other

Actor Anna-Maria Nabirye brings the 12 characters of Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other to life in the audiobook.

Penguin Books UK · Girl, Woman, Other
Girl, Woman, Other audiobook cover on blue background

And the truth is I wanted that prize so much. I can't be cool about it. I wanted it so much, because I knew it was going to change everything.

Listen to Bernardine Evaristo on Desert Island Discs

On Desert Island Discs in 2020, Bernardine Evaristo shared her love for libraries and the music of Fela Kuti, and spoke about how she “swore the house down” on winning the Booker Prize.

The winning moment

Bernardine Evaristo made history in 2019 when she became the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize.

‘I never thought it would happen to me,’ said Evaristo in her acceptance speech after Girl, Woman, Other was announced as the joint winner with Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments

‘I hope that honour doesn’t last too long, I hope that other people come forward now,’ she continued.

Bernardine Evaristo 2019