THE BBC has apologised after one of its presenters referred to the first black woman to win the Booker Prize as ‘another author’.
During a segment on the Turner Prize winners, presenter Shaun Ley compared the judges’ decision to award the prestigious art prize to four nominees instead of one to that made by the Booker Prize jury in October.
Speaking live on BBC News yesterday evening, Ley said: “Now, this is a bit different from the Booker Prize earlier in the year where the judges couldn’t make up their minds, so they gave it to Margaret Atwood and another author, who shared the prize between them.”
Both Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood were named winners of the 2019 literary prize.
A tweet from the Evening Standard’s Londoner account revealed that the BBC has issued an apology to Evaristo.
“The BBC has apologised to Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo after it described this year’s award as being split between Margaret Atwood and ‘another author’.
“This part of the item was unscripted and he didn’t say Bernardine Evaristo’s name at the time. We apologise to her for the offence caused,” the tweet read.
Responding to a clip of the segment, Evaristo said: “The @BBC described me yesterday as ‘another author’ apropos @TheBookerPrizes 2019. How quickly and casually they have removed my name from history – the first black woman to win it. This is what we’ve always been up against, folks.”
Critics of the 2019 Booker Prize judges have said the incident is another example of why Evaristo, who won with her book Girl, Woman, Other, should have been named the sole winner.
“I thought dividing the Booker Prize this year was a serious mistake. The BBC naming the winner as Margaret Atwood and ‘another author’ is testament to how damaging it has been. All power to Bernadine Evaristo who should have won outright,” novelist Linda Grant tweeted.
“A reminder, re the BBC forgetting Bernardine Evaristo’s name, that a lot of commentary around the Booker controversy said both authors would see a boost from it. This isn’t true, because the first black woman to win a Booker has been sidelined or erased from the first,” another critic said.