Scottish author Douglas wins Booker Prize

Staff Correspondent

21 November, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Scottish author Douglas wins Booker Prize

Scottish writer Douglas Stuart has won the Booker Prize for his first novel ‘Shuggie Bain’, the story of a boy’s turbulent coming of age in hardscrabble 1980s Glasgow.

The 44-year-old Stuart, who wins 50,000 pounds ($66,000) on Thursday, is only the second Scot to have won the prestigious literary prize.

With judges saying his tale of love and alcoholism set in Glasgow in 1980s is destined to be a classic, the book, based on his own childhood, tells of a young boy growing up during tough years in Glasgow with a mother who is battling addiction.

Stuart’s own mother died of alcoholism when he was 16.

When Douglas Stuart began writing the fiction, he wasn’t sure it would ever be published.

Early responses from editors were also discouraging. More than 30 publishers rejected the book. However, he finally sold it to Grove Atlantic.

“My mother unfortunately suffered with addiction and didn’t survive that addiction,” he told the award ceremony, which had to be mostly held remotely because of a lockdown in England to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“And so for 30 years I’ve carried an awful lot of sort of loss and love and pain, and I wanted really just to tell the story of what it was like to grow up queer in Glasgow, to grow up with a parent who you love but you couldn't save,” he said.

Margaret Busby, the chair of judges, said the novel was gracefully and powerfully written. She termed the novel as a moving, immersive and nuanced portrait of a tight-knit social world, its people and its values.