Scottish author Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for his novel Shuggie Bain. The selected novel was Stuart’s first published novel, a story of a young boy trying to break free from his turbulent life in Glasgow of the 1980s. The award was announced on Thursday, November 2020, in a digital event.
The situation in the world is ridiculously different than what it was last year, courtesy of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The publishing industry around the world is witnessing the toughest times ever, with shrinking readership and closing book stores. In such dire times, the award season has brought some fresh air into the industry.
The shortlist for the 2020 Booker Prize included six authors including Stuart. Other names in the shortlist included Diane Cook (The New Wilderness), Avni Doshi (Burnt Sugar), Tsitsi Dangarembga (This Mournable Body), Maaza Mengiste (Shadow King), and Brandon Taylor (Real Life). The judging panel for this year included Margaret Busby, Lee Child, Sameer Rahim, Lemn Sissay, and Dr. Emily Wilson. Margaret Busby OBE, the co-founder of Allison & Busby, was the chair of the panel. The Booker Prize is also the richest literary award in the world boasting prize money of £50,000.
Picador Books and Grove Atlantic jointly published Shuggie Bain, Stuart’s debut novel, in February 2020. Praising the novel, the Booker Prize panel of judges stated,
“We were bowled over by this first novel, which creates an amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage, and love. The book gives a vivid glimpse of a marginalized, impoverished community in a bygone era of British history. It’s a desperately sad, almost-hopeful examination of family and the destructive powers of desire.”
About the Author
Douglas Stuart is the second Scot to win the prestigious prize after James Kelman. The latter won it for his novel How Late It Was in 1994. Stuart began his career as a fashion designer in New York at the age of 24, working for luxury brands like Calvin Klein, Jack Spade, Ralph Lauren, etc. Since moving to the United States in 2000, he’s written a few short stories, out of which two – Found Wanting and The Englishman – were published in The New Yorker magazine.
Other that the Booker Prize, other elite literary awards Stuart’s nominated for include:
The National Book Award in Fiction
The Kirkus Prize for Fiction
The Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction