Bernadine Evaristo’s 2020 Goldsmiths prize lecture is a manifesto for the future of literature. She deconstructs the literary canon through a revised history of the novel, from oral storytelling in Africa to the gatekeepers of the contemporary publishing world. She writes about the necessity of decolonising the curriculum and expanding our idea of ‘literature’ which has traditionally been published by the elite. She writes that, “the novel is thriving because of the fresh perspectives and narratives infusing it with new ideas, stories, cultures, life” and examines what it would mean for our bookshelves to be truly inclusive. This is a searing, timely essay which deserves a place on every university reading list.
New Statesman/Goldsmiths Prize lecture, October 2020. Available online here