September 26, 2002
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
Assembly Hall, CC
8:00 p.m. Reading
Recital Hall, PAC
Both UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Bernardine Evaristo's second novel-in-verse, The Emperor's Babe, presents a multi-cultural panorama of London in the year 211 A.D. Zuleika, the novel's principal character, is the daughter of Sudanese shopkeepers, immigrants to Roman Britain from another far-flug territory of the Empire. Married off at the age of eleven to an obese merchant with a busy travel schedule, Zuleika is left to explore "A city of slum tenements and sumptuous villas, of orgy queens, drag queens and drama queens. A city where the currency is often sex, where children go to work at age five, where marriage is a career move."
The Emperor's Babe was named a Book of the Year by three of UK's leading newspapers, including The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent Sunday.
Born to a Nigerian father and English mother, and raised in Greater London, Bernardine Evaristo is widely regarded as one of Britain's fastest-rising literary stars. Her first novel-in-verse, Lara, took the British press by storm. "First novels don't often make my heart beat faster," said a reviewer for The New Statements, "[but] this one was exceptional." "The linguistically exultant Lara is a true discovery" said the Independent on Sunday.
Autobiographically inspired, Lara is the story of a girl of mixed race who grows up in London suburbs of the 1960s and 70s. The novel traces Lara's complex heritage back seven generations in order to shed light on the collisions of race and culture that produced her. Lara was named a Book of the Year by the Daily Telegram, New Statesman and The Journal (UK).
Bernardine Evaristo is currently a visiting professor of creative writing at Barnard College in New York City. She has also served as writer-in-residence at the Museum of London, the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.