'Shuggie Bain' writer Douglas Stuart wins 2020 Booker Prize

Douglas Stuart

British author Douglas Stuart was announced as the victor of The 2020 Booker Prize for his novel "Shuggie Bain".

Months of reading and judgement ended yesterday with a smooth one hour discussion in which the sole British-born nominee and only white man on the diverse shortlist was named the victor.

The novel is dedicated to the Stuart's mother, who died following an alcohol addiction when he was 16.

Stuart will take part in his first official public event as victor for Southbank Centre on Monday (November 23) as part of its "Inside Out" series, interviewed by Bernardine Evaristo, the joint victor of the 2019 Booker Prize.

It is a searing account of a young boy growing up in Thatcher's Glasgow, with a single mother who is trying to do right by her children, all whilst battling with addiction. He was born and raised in Glasgow, then after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London he moved to New York City, where he began a career in fashion design. Stuart tells The New York Times: "For me, Shuggie Bain is a love story". Some of the things in the novel will make you smile but it is not one of those typical novelswhere everyone lives happily ever after.

"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, who declared himself "absolutely stunned" to win.

Ishiguro, 66, who won the Man Booker in 1989 for The Remains of the Day, said the prize itself was not the final test.

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

The 44-year-old was announced as the prize during a virtual ceremony which featured a contribution from former U.S. president Barack Obama.

At the award ceremony, Stuart revealed that his second novel was already ready for publication.

The novel has drawn comparisons to D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce and Frank McCourt- It has been a favourite contender for this year's top literary prizes, being also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award for fiction, which on Wednesday went to Charles Yu for "Interior Chinatown".

He had initially wanted to study English and become a writer, "but in the world of my childhood, boys didn't do such things" he previously wrote in The Guardian.

Publisher and editor Margaret Busby, who chaired the judging panel, said "Shuggie Bain" was intimate and gripping, challenging but hopeful in its exploration of Shuggie's burgeoning sexuality and the complex but loving relationship between mother and son. The other contender was "This Mournable Body", by Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga.

This year's six finalists included four debut novelists - Doshi, Cook and Taylor, as well as Stuart - and omitted high-profile books, including "The Mirror and the Light", the conclusion of Hilary Mantel's acclaimed Tudor trilogy.

Mr Obama addressed the ceremony via a pre-recorded video message. Since 2014, authors from other English-speaking countries have also been eligible to enter the competition.

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