Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, and British-Nigerian author, Bernardine Evaristo, have jointly won the 2019 Booker Prize. Atwood secured the Prize for The Testaments, the much-anticipated sequel to her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Evaristo won the Prize for Girl, Woman, Other, a novel in which each chapter follows the lives of primarily black women moving through the world alone but somehow still connected to one another. This is Atwood’s second Booker win and the first for Evaristo, who is also the first black woman to win the prize since it began in 1969.
Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Canada, and has long been an avid fan of writing and literature, beginning her journey when she was just six years old. Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Toronto and a Master’s from Radcliffe College, Atwood began publishing collections of poetry. Her 1964 collection The Circle Game won the Governor General’s Award. By the early-to-mid-1970s, Atwood had garnered much fame for her poetry and novels, particularly her 1972 novel, Surfacing, the story of a woman artist who goes searching for her missing father on an island in northern Quebec. In the next few decades, her poignant novels on pressing social issues, feminism, and speculative fiction cemented her into the legendary author she is today and have garnered her over 20 awards.
Bernardine Evaristo was born in London, England and attended the University of London, where she later received a doctorate in creative writing. Evaristo has written eight books of fiction, which mainly focus on African diasporic experiences throughout various points in history. But she does not stop just there; Evaristo’s writing style is known for combining aspects of prose and poetry, history and modern times, and alternate realities with real life. A good example would be her 2009 novel, Blonde Roots, is a satire that switches the course of the transatlantic slave trade in which Africans enslave Europeans. Her novels have won her many prestigious awards and fellowships, such as the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the Ferro-Grumley Award.
A joint win for the Booker Prize is a phenomenon that has not occurred since the 1990s. In spirit of Atwood’s and Evaristo’s special win of the Booker Prize, act quick, and snatch up their novels through the Library! You can find more of Atwood’s books on Overdrive as well.