New Releases Tuesday: The Best Books Out This Week
From the bestselling and Booker Prize–winning author of Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo’s memoir of her own life and writing, and her manifesto on unstoppability, creativity, and activism
Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker Prize win was a historic and revolutionary occasion, with Evaristo being the first Black woman and first Black British person ever to win the prize in its fifty-year history. Girl, Woman, Other was named a favorite book of the year by President Obama and Roxane Gay, was translated into thirty-five languages, and has now reached more than a million readers.
Evaristo’s astonishing nonfiction debut, Manifesto, is a vibrant and inspirational account of Evaristo’s life and career as she rebelled against the mainstream and fought over several decades to bring her creative work into the world. With her characteristic humor, Evaristo describes her childhood as one of eight siblings, with a Nigerian father and white Catholic mother, tells the story of how she helped set up Britain’s first Black women’s theatre company, remembers the queer relationships of her twenties, and recounts her determination to write books that were absent in the literary world around her. She provides a hugely powerful perspective to contemporary conversations around race, class, feminism, sexuality, and aging. She reminds us of how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. In Manifesto, Evaristo charts her theory of unstoppability, showing creative people how they too can visualize and find success in their work, ignoring the naysayers.
Both unconventional memoir and inspirational text, Manifesto is a unique reminder to us all to persist in doing work we believe in, even when we might feel overlooked or discounted. Evaristo shows us how we too can follow in her footsteps, from first vision, to insistent perseverance, to eventual triumph.
Reasons to read it: This is definitely for fans of Evaristo’s history making book Girl, Woman, Other, as it seems to have been largely influenced by her actual life in theater and with the relationships of her twenties. It shows the life of a creative person through the decades of their life as she went from place to place emotionally and physically. The racism, classism, and sexism present in various environments she was in are analyzed with thoughtfulness and humor. Here is a great book about a writer’s life.