Douglas Stuart wins the Booker Prize for Fiction 2020

Congratulations to Douglas Stuart who has been named the winner of this year’s Booker Prize for Fiction for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain.

Shuggie Bain is the heartrending story of a young boy’s futile attempt to save his alcoholic mother from her addiction as he simultaneously grapples with his own sexuality.

Stuart drew from his own life in writing this incredible first work of fiction, which our staff voted as one of our top 10 international fiction books of 2020. He is the second Scottish author to win this prestigious prize, following on from James Kelman in 1994.

Margaret Busby, 2020 chair of judges, comments: ‘ Shuggie Bain is destined to be a classic – a moving, immersive and nuanced portrait of a tight-knit social world, its people and its values. The heart-wrenching story tells of the unconditional love between Agnes Bain – set on a descent into alcoholism by the tough circumstances life has dealt her – and her youngest son. Shuggie struggles with responsibilities beyond his years to save his mother from herself, at the same time as dealing with burgeoning feelings and questions about his own otherness. Gracefully and powerfully written, this is a novel that has impact because of its many emotional registers and its compassionately realised characters. The poetry in Douglas Stuart’s descriptions and the precision of his observations stand out: nothing is wasted.’

Stuart was shortlisted alongside Diane Cook (The New Wilderness), Tsitsi Dangarembga (This Mournable Body), Avni Doshi (Burnt Sugar), Maaza Mengiste (The Shadow King) and Brandon Taylor (Real Life).

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a £50,000 prize literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK. You can read more about the prize here.

Shuggie Bain

Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart

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