"Shuggie Bain": Scottish Author Douglas Stuart Wins Booker Prize For Debut Novel

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Douglas Stuart, New York based- Scottish writer, has won the 2020 Booker Prize.

"Part of the reason Shuggie is queer is because I am queer and I grew up in Glasgow". He tells The Booker Prize: "It is set in 1990s Glasgow, and is the tale of two teenage boys, who fall in love despite being divided along territorial, sectarian lines".

Stuart wasn't sure when he started on the book that it would ever be published, and indeed initial responses from publishers were discouraging: more than 30 editors rejected the book, a fictional account of his childhood, growing up in Glasgow with an alcoholic mother.

Stuart was born and raised in Glasgow before moving to NY to pursue a career in fashion design at 24, working for brands including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Gap.

According to the Booker Prize jury, "laying bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride, Shuggie Bain is a blistering and heartbreaking debut, and an exploration of the unsinkable love that only children can have for their damaged parents".

She said: 'I'm so thrilled for Douglas Stuart - Shuggie Bain is a raw, searing and beautifully tender novel. He is the second Scot to win the £50,000 award after James Kelman took the prize in 1994 with How Late It Was, How Late, a book Stuart said "changed his life" because it was the first time he saw "my people, my dialect, on the page". "He said that he had dedicated this book to his mother". Stuart has said that the book was a huge influence on him.

This year's finalists also included American Avni Doshi's first novel Burnt Sugar alongside fellow United States debutants Diane Cook (The New Wilderness) and Brandon Taylor (Real Life).

He began writing in his spare time a decade ago, and his short stories have since appeared in the New Yorker.

The award, which was announced Thursday, will likely draw a large new audience to the novel, which came out earlier this year.

Margaret Busby, the chair of judges, said the novel was gracefully and powerfully written.

Mr Obama addressed the ceremony via a pre-recorded video message. The other contender was "This Mournable Body", by Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Stuart was one of four debut novelists among the six finalists for one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. "We sit alone in a room for a long time and write, and then people sit alone in a room and read it".

Founded in 1969, the prize is open to English-language authors from around the world, but until 2014 only British, Irish and Commonwealth writers were eligible.

Margaret Atwood and Evaristoshared last year's prize for their novels "The Testaments" and "Girl, Woman, Other", respectively.

Since 2014 U.S. authors have been eligible for Britain's preeminent literary prize, with calls in some quarters for a reversal of the rule changes after a strong of American winners.

Booker Prize judges are meeting Thursday to pick a victor of the prestigious literary award, choosing from a six-book list that's both USA -dominated and strikingly diverse.



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