The new Vogue Talks series launched on 25 February with the Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, in conversation with features editor Olivia Marks in front of an intimate audience at Vogue House.
Guests enjoyed gin and tonics courtesy of Vogue Talks partner Bombay Sapphire, with canapés crafted by Marylebone-based patisserie Feya, before taking their seats to listen to Evaristo read her work, “Star of the Season”, published in the March issue of British Vogue. In her original short story, Evaristo conjures a world of high-concept couture, in which a cybernetic socialite decides the future of fashion.
In conversation afterwards, talk turned to Evaristo’s novel Girl, Woman, Other. A unique, sprawling exploration of the lives of 12 different people – “mostly women, mostly black” – in modern-day Britain, Evaristo’s acute powers of observation and engaging prose earned her one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world. When the 2019 Booker was presented to Evaristo (shared with Margaret Atwood for The Testaments), she became the first black woman to receive the award.
It has also introduced her to a whole new audience. Evaristo reflected on her starting point for the book, how it took her a mammoth five years to write, and how winning the Booker transformed her career – and her life – overnight. Fielding questions from the audience, Evaristo also spoke about how feminism runs through all of her work, and how she hopes to leave a lasting legacy as a literary activist.
As the evening drew to a close, guests enjoyed a final nightcap of a cocktail as Evaristo signed their copies of her books. Watch this space for news of the next Vogue Talks event, coming soon.