The Emperor's Babe is Bernardine Evaristo's unique lyrical portrait of Roman London
Meet Zuleika: sassy girl about town, hellraiser, bored ex-child-bride, black Roman in Londinium, AD 211. In the place (and time) to be . . .
Through the bustling, hustling city, its slum tenements and sumptuous villas, we follow Zuleika, feisty and precocious daughter of Sudanese immigrants made good. Married to a fat, rich absent Roman, she is stranded in luxurious neglect, until, one day, Septimus Severus, the Emperor himself, comes to town, bringing with him not just love - but danger . . .
Funky and funny, sexy and moving, this novel in verse is a triumph of imaginative writing - and of sheer lyrical and emotional vitality.
'A heroine of ancient times for the modern age . . . a glittering fiction whose words leap off the page into life. Brilliant'The Times
'Funny, engaging and daring'Independent on Sunday
'Exhilarating . . . wildly entertaining then deeply affecting'Ali Smith
'Adventurous, compelling and utterly original. You won't read another book like it this year'The Times
Bernardine Evaristo is the author of three critically acclaimed 'verse novels' - Lara, The Emperor's Babe (which won the Arts Council Award in 2000) and Soul Tourists - and two prose novels, Blonde Roots and Mr Loverman. Evaristo is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, and was awarded an MBE in 2009. She lives in London.