Scottish author Douglas Stuart was awarded the Booker Prize 2020 for his acclaimed debut novel “Shuggie Bain” in his hometown of Glasgow on Thursday.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer so that this would come true,” said Stuart, whose novel about a working class family in the 1980s was inspired by his own childhood.
“That changed my whole life,” he said in his acceptance speech.
Like the other finalists, the 44-year-old writer, who now lives in New York, watched the socially distant ceremony via video link due to an anti-virus lockdown in Britain.
Stuart’s book reflects his own experiences growing up with a mother who was an alcoholic and died of addiction.
He described the book as a “love story” that deals with the kind of “unconditional, often tried love” children can have for faulty parents.
In an emotional speech, the 44-year-old, who now lives in New York, said: “My mother would be delighted, she would be absolutely delighted and I think she would be proud.”
He said that he had carried “a lot of love and pain” and that writing the book was “incredibly healing for me”.
He also paid tribute to his hometown, saying that “I think growing up in Glasgow is one of the greatest inspirations of my life”.
Stuart was one of four debut novelists among the six finalists for one of the world‘s most prestigious literary prizes.
Before the announcement, British bookmakers had backed Stuart to win the award for the best work of English-language fiction published in Great Britain and Ireland.
At a ceremony with contributions from former US President Barack Obama and the Duchess of Cornwall, he was selected as the winner from the most diverse shortlist in the award’s five-decade history.
The Booker has launched careers and controversy since its inception in 1969.
The winner receives prize money of 66,000 US dollars, 56,000 euros and great international attention.
Last year’s judges tore up the rulebook by jointly awarding it to Canadian author Margaret Atwood and Anglo-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo.
Evaristo said at the ceremony on Thursday that winning the award was a “magical moment” and “I feel like a writer has been led out into the world“.
Past winners have included famous writers from Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes to Kazuo Ishiguro and Roddy Doyle.
Paul Beatty became the first American winner when the Booker bowed to pressure and in 2013 began to involve writers from outside the Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe.
– ‘Welcoming the New’ –
This year’s finalists included US debutants Diane Cook (“The New Wilderness”) and Brandon Taylor (“Real Life”) as well as the first novel “Burnt Sugar” by American Avni Doshi.
The Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga (“This Mournable Body”) and the Ethiopian-American Maaza Mengiste (“The Shadow King”) were the only established authors on the list.
The list was compiled by a jury of five judges from a US-dominated longlist of 13 finalists, including veteran Hilary Mantel.
Margaret Busby, Chair of the Five Judges for 2020, said ahead of the award’s announcement that “discovering great literature depends on freeing the imagination and being open to embracing the new.”
“I don’t think I’m breaking the rules to say this: please read all the books on the shortlist,” she added.
Dangarembga’s last volume in her trilogy, which began with “Nervous Conditions”, tells the journey of a young girl from Zimbabwe who sinks into poverty.
Mengiste, the first Ethiopian author to shortlist the Bookers, tells the story of the uprising against the Italian invasion in the 1930s.
“Burnt Sugar” by Doshi explores the complex relationship between an aging mother and daughter in today’s India, while Cook’s “The New Wilderness” is a dystopian fiction set in a world inhospitable by the climate crisis.
Taylor’s “Real Life” debut follows an introverted man’s experience of racism when he arrives at an American university.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)