Twenty years ago, Bernardine Evaristo visualised winning the Booker Prize. She had been taking upbeat American-style personal development classes, and decided to set herself what seemed like an impossible goal. Though Evaristo had already begun establishing herself as a poet and novelist in London, drawing the respect of her peers as well as critical praise, she felt far removed from the literary mainstream and her books had yet to crack the bestseller lists. Last October, when she finally realised her dream and won the prize, she joked in her acceptance speech that in the course of her 40-year career she had never made her editors much money.
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