Published on : 19/11/2020 – 21:11
The Scottish writer Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize 2020 this Thursday, November 19 for his novel “Shuggie Bain”. After the Nobel Prize for Literature, this British distinction, endowed with 50,000 pounds (56,000 euros), is considered one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world.
« I am absolutely amazed and I would first like to thank my mother… and my husband », Declared the winner during the transmission of the ceremony on video this evening at 9 pm on the air and the site of the BBC.
According to the prize’s statutes, the Booker Prize is awarded to the best work of English-language fiction published in the UK and Ireland, but since 2013 jurors have agreed to consider even authors from outside the Commonwealth.
A radical and tender portrait
Already before the consecration of being the second Scottish winner (after James Kelman in 1994) of the Booker Prize, Douglas Stuart, 44, had the wind in its sails among British bookmakers. Shuggie Bath takes place in the 1980s and tells the story of a working-class Scottish family heavily affected by alcoholism, poverty and gender identity. A radical yet tender portrait of Agnes, an alcoholic mother, and her son Shuggie.
A first novel endowed with autobiographical notions and for which the author has devoted ten years to writing this fierce story located in Glasgow. It is in this city that Stuart grew up, in a district where he often faces homophobic violence. His mother, sunk into alcoholism, died when he was 16. To get by, he works at night to first finish high school before then enrolling at the Royal College of Art in London, his future springboard to be hired at the age of 24 at Calvin Klein in New York. .
Realize his dreams
Today, Douglas Stuart holds dual British and American citizenship. After two decades in fashion and with the Booker Prize, another dream has come true, to devote oneself fully to writing. And right after receiving the Booker Prize, he announced that he had already practically written his second book: a love story between two Glasgow boys and their separation.
After the announcement of the vote – during a ceremony broadcast live on the BBC’s antenna and website, also including an intervention by former US President Barack Obama (” writing a book is not an easy task ») -, Douglas Stuart then becomes the successor of the Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and the Anglo-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo, the laureates crowned ex aequo in 2019.
Beyond the winner, the 2020 edition has established itself as a renewal of the English-speaking literary scene. Among the six writers on the final list were four women and four early novels. In this particular year, the British prize therefore lived up to its reputation as a launcher of international literary careers.
► To read also: Tsitsi Dangarembga, dissident novelist and feminist from Zimbabwe