Aspiring Black fashion and beauty writers! This week’s edition of Style magazine, guest edited by Booker prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo, includes a unique opportunity to kickstart your writing career.

Bernadine Evaristo
Bernadine Evaristo
Image credit: Ruth Ossai / The Sunday Times Style

Bernardine Evaristo who won the accolades for Author of the Year and secure Fiction Book of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards, has always been clear about her ambition to put Black women in the spotlight and is using her opportunity as guest editor of this week’s Style magazine to offer a ladder to the next generation of under 25-year old writers.

As part of the special issue, Style has launched an essay competition with The Black Writers’ Guild for aspiring Black fashion and beauty journalists. It is open to women who are Black-British and under 25, and will be judged by Bernardine Evaristo, out-going editor of Style Lorraine Candy, and Emma Paterson, literary agent at Aitken Alexander Associates. The winner will receive mentoring and six commissioned pieces in Style.

The winner will receive mentoring and six commissioned pieces in Style.

The Black Writers’ Guild, which launched as a group last month to “make the most of the exciting opportunities Black writing talent the UK has to offer…” commented on their involvement in the competition. They said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Sunday Times Style in finding new talent from our culture for their fashion and beauty pages. The representation of Black people in all areas is really important to us and this is a great opportunity for the next generation to take their space.”

Bernardine, who is a member of the guild, set the question for the aspiring journalists to answer. They are asked to write an 800-word personal fashion or beauty essay in response to the question: Fashion and beauty are going through a revolution. What does that statement mean to you?.

This special edition of Style is notable in a number of other ways too. Black photographers, stylists, make-up artists and creatives helped to create the issue, which features many emerging and established Black fashion designers. Portraits of Bernardine – including the cover – were taken by Ruth Ossai, whose work is inspired by Nollywood films.

In the magazine, Bernardine writes about her own sexuality for the first time in a candid essay. Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People, writes about yoga, which she’s been practising for some 20 years and Yomi Adegoke, co-author of Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, writes about the trend for buzzcuts.

Speaking about her involvement in the issue, Bernardine Evaristo said: “I was thrilled to be invited to guest edit this special issue of Style, at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has re-energised the conversation around racism.

“It was of utmost importance to me, to make sure this issue put Black women in the spotlight and also to make it queer-inclusive, much as I did with my novel Girl, Woman, Other.

“It is a ground-breaking celebration of Black women and womxn. You may never have heard of them before, but you will be hearing a lot more about them in the future. I believe every one of them deserves wider attention.”

The Style X Black Writer’s Guild essay competition will close on 23.59 on 26 September 2020. Details on how to enter can be found here.

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