English author and novelist who is best known for her books Small Island in 2004 and The Long Song in 2010. She is also known for having won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2004.
She originally studied textile design and weaving at Middlesex Polytechnic school. She started her career as a costume assistant, working for the BBC and Royal Opera House. She started writing in her mid thirties and gained international attention in 1994 when she released her first novel Every Light in the House Burnin'.
She has won several awards for her writing including the Walter Scott Prize in 2011, the Man Booker Prize in 2010, the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2005, and the Whitbreak Book of the Year award in 2004.
She was born in London and was raised by Jamaican parents. She married Bill Mayblin.
Other novelists who have also been awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction include Lauren Liebenberg, Madeline Miller, and Zadie Smith.