Douglas Stuart Wins the 2020 Booker Prize for SHUGGIE BAIN

Douglas Stuart Wins the 2020 Booker Prize for SHUGGIE BAIN

Scottish author Douglas Stuart has won the £50,000 (A$91,100) Booker Prize for his debut novel Shuggie Bain (Picador), reports the Bookseller. It follows a young boy growing up in Glasgow, with a mother fighting addiction.

'For all these reasons, this year's Booker Prize is even more important than usual.

Shuggie Bain, which is based on Stuart's own childhood, is set in Glasgow in the 1980s and tells the story of a young boy growing up with a mother who is battling addiction. Instead, he trained in textiles and upon graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, he moved to NY and ended up designing knitwear for big American brands. 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. Stuart is only the second Scottish author to win the prize in its history. The novel is dedicated to Stuart's mother, who died of alcoholism when he was 16.

Post-win, he says full time writing is now on the cards for him, and he might use his prize money to return to Glasgow.

To win the prize, Stuart beat acclaimed Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste, and the United States writers Avni Doshi, Diane Cook, and Brandon Taylor. Instead, the victor announcement will be broadcast online and on radio later Thursday from London's Roundhouse arts venue, with virtual appearances by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Before announcing the victor, jury chair Margaret Busby spoke about the diversity of the finalists and their stories, which had received much attention in the run-up to the award. But it will be an immensely popular one, for readers have already taken Shuggie Bain to heart: it was the bestselling novel on this year's shortlist, and the favourite to win.

Speaking on writing about his hometown from the USA, the author said: 'Childhood in Glasgow was tough, and distance certainly helped me to distill the story out of my experiences of the city.

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Also on the list is Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga's "This Mournable Body", which links the breakdown of its central character and turmoil in post-colonial Zimbabwe.

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

In a video message, 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".

Last year, the Booker Prize judges made the surprising decision to flout their own rules and award the prize jointly to Margaret Atwood, for "The Testaments", a sequel to her 1985 dystopian classic "The Handmaid's Tale", and Bernardine Evaristo for her novel "Girl, Woman, Other". "And as long as we can read, we can travel, we can escape, we can explore, we can laugh, we can cry and we can grapple with life's mysteries". They included thriller writer Lee Child, poet Lemn Sissay, classicist and translator Emily Wilson, and British author and critic Sameer Rahim.

"It appears to be a very classical novel on a first reading", said Gaby Wood, the literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation. Since 2013, authors from any nationality have been eligible.

He was the only United Kingdom -born author on a USA -dominated list of six finalists for the prize, which is open to English-language novels from around the world.

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