Bernardine Evaristo made history last October, when she became the first Black woman to be awarded the Booker Prize, for her eighth book Girl, Woman, Other.
She's a political activist highly engaged with the Black Lives Matter movement, an author championing inclusivity in literature and the voice of a more diverse and just future.
Barack Obama is a big fan, and so are we.
As a true pioneer for change, our judges voted for her to sit on 2020's ELLE List, in association with Magnum - a celebration of this year's new leaders and shakers reframing the worlds of fashion, beauty, politics, culture and beyond.
We interviewed and photographed Evaristo for the List. Here's what she had to say...
'My mum was an English teacher who loved to read. She passed that on to me. It was a lifeline to explore the world through literature. I was the girl who went to the library every Saturday and got as many books out as I could, returned them the next Saturday and then got some more books out. It was exciting to read about other lives and to explore the world through literature.
Girl, Woman, Other took me five years. If you don't enjoy the writing process, you'll suffer as a writer. I never just work on a novel. I teach creative writing, do book reviews and essays and talks as an activist.
Black British women were invisible in literature for a long time. Especially in the UK. I was inspired by African-American writers such as Toni Morrison. Being the first Black British writer to get the number one spot in the fiction charts says a lot. But the Black Lives Matter movement has put the industry under the spotlight to diversify the workforce and who gets published.
I've been an activist for a long time. I want to live in a society where everybody is included, particularly Black people. It's so important for us to be fully participating in this society as people of colour. We shouldn't be invisible in any aspects of society, whether it's the arts in general, and most definitely in literature. I'm grateful to have a big platform. When I say something now, I'm quoted in the media. In the past, people often haven't paid attention.
Winning the Booker Prize was the defining moment of my career. I have such huge admiration for Margaret Atwood and was delighted to share it with her. It put my career into a different league. You don't think about famous people reading your book, you just think about writing the book and hope it finds a good readership, but when you hear about it it's a really surreal experience.
I haven't started the next book yet. I always feel the pressure when starting. But you can't control how your book is going to be received; all you can do is write it.'
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