Douglas Stuart wins Booker Prize for ′Shuggie Bain′ | News | DW | 19.11.2020

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Douglas Stuart wins Booker Prize for 'Shuggie Bain'

The Scottish-American author has won the prestigious literary prize for 2020. The story follows a young boy and his relationship with his alcoholic mother in Glasgow. 

Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize for fiction, prize organizers announced in London on Thursday.

He was awarded the prestigious 50,000-pound ($66,000, €56,000) award for his novel Shuggie Bain, the story of a boy's turbulent coming of age in 1980s Glasgow.

It is Stuart's first published novel. He was the only British-born author on the US-dominated shortlist.

"I always wanted to be a writer so this is fulfilling a dream," said Stuart. "This has changed my entire life." He was watching the socially distanced ceremony via video link.  

The other finalists — all first time novelists — included: Avni Doshi's Burnt Sugar Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King; Diane Cook's The New Wilderness; Tsitsi Dangarembga's This Mournable Body; and Brandon Taylor's Real Life.

Read more: 2020 Booker Prize announces shortlist, highlights diversity

The 44-year-old, New-York-based fashion designer wrote the book over a decade, drawing on his own experiences growing up gay in Thatcher-era Glasgow.

The story follows a young Shuggie and his relationship with his alcoholic mother, Agnes. 

Stuart dedicated the book to his own mother, who died when he was 16.

"My mother is in every page of this book, and without her I wouldn't be here and my work wouldn't be here," said Stuart.

He thanked his mother, his readers, the people of Glasgow and his husband, Michael Cary.

Publisher and editor Margaret Busby, who chaired the judging panel, said in praise of the book: "It's heartwrending, it's hopeful, but it's also desperately said. It has humor, it has so many different qualities. It is fiction at its best."

President Barack Obama and Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, both attended the virtual event.

Obama praised the power of fiction "to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, understand their struggles, and imagine new ways to tackle complex problems and effect change."

aw/rt (AP, AFP, dpa)

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