Douglas Stuart bags the Booker Prize for the year 2020. He won the prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain. This novel is set in Glasgow of 1980s. The protagonist is a boy who strives to support his mother as she struggles with addiction and poverty. The novel takes us through the life of Agnes Bain, who is descending into despair and struggling with alcohol after the breakdown of her marriage. As each of her child is driven away by deterioration, one child of hers-Shuggie, tries to help her while suffering huge personal losses of his own.
Douglas Stuart said he was “absolutely stunned” to win. He added that he would like to give his fellow nominees “a hug” and that the “greatest gift” was being able to “touch readers’ lives”. Stuart dedicated this book and prize to his mother, whom he lost when he was 16 to alcoholism. The book was rejected by 30 editors before it was picked up by publishers Grove Atlantic in the U.S. and Picador in the UK.
The judges of this year were Margaret Busby, editor, literary critic; Sameer Rahim, author and critic; Lemn Sissay, writer and broadcaster and Emily Wilson, classicist and translator. Margaret Busby said that the judges only ‘took an hour to decide’ and that the decision was unanimous. She said that the book is “challenging, intimate and gripping… anyone who reads it will never feel the same”. The novel is “destined to be a classic” and is “full of such emotional rage, a book that can make you laugh as well as make you cry”, Busby said.
About Douglas Stuart
Stuart was born on 31 May 1976. He grew up in Glasgow and was the youngest of the three siblings. His mother, who battled with alcoholism and addiction, raised them alone after their father left him. Currently, he lives in New York. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, he moved to New York to start a career in fashion design. He worked for several brands including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Gap. Stuart started his work on this book over a decade ago during his spare time.
About Booker Prize 2020
The Booker prize is open to any novel written in English by an author of any nationality and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland. Due to COVID pandemic, this year’s ceremony was very different. The event was broadcasted from London’s Roundhouse. All the six shortlisted authors joined the ceremony through a special screen and the event included both virtual and in-person special guests. The other nominations for this year were:
- Diane Cook – The New Wilderness
- Tsitsi Dangarembga – This Mournable Body
- Avni Doshi – Burnt Sugar
- Maaza Mengiste -The Shadow King
- Brandon Taylor – Real Life
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