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It is about time – Bernardine Evaristo hails diverse talent breaking through

Bernardine Evaristo (Booker Prizes/PA)
Bernardine Evaristo (Booker Prizes/PA)

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo has hailed diverse talent breaking through at the Oscars and Baftas, saying “I think it is about time.”

The best-selling author of Girl, Woman, Other said that when artists of colour are sidelined the whole of society suffers.

Evaristo, who is chairwoman of the judges for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, said she is “really pleased” at the success of creatives such as actor Daniel Kaluuya and director Sir Steve McQueen.

93rd Academy Awards
Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor at the Oscars (Matt Crossick/PA)

Kaluuya this week won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in Judas And The Black Messiah, while Sir Steve McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe has 15 nominations for this year’s Bafta television awards.

Evaristo told the PA news agency: “That is fantastic. I am really pleased. I think the #OscarsSoWhite campaign or hashtag that happened two or three years ago now saw the Academy opening up to a lot more diversity in terms of its voting members, and I think Bafta has done something similar.”

The writer said a lack of diversity in the Oscars voting academy was “limiting in terms of the kinds of films that they might choose”.

Burberry Prorsum Arrivals – London Collections Men AW2016
Director Steve McQueen (Ian West/PA)

She added: “As you say, Steve McQueen has got through, and Daniel Kaluuya, and I am sure others are getting through now and winning those awards; then I think it is about time and it is really good to see that happening.

“Talent needs to be acknowledged. When artists of colour have been ignored or sidelined then I think culture as a whole has suffered.

“It is good for everyone to be acknowledged for their contribution, and that includes people of colour, and that includes women writers.”

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