The Booker Prize 2020 awarded to the Scottish Douglas Stuart for his novel “Shuggie Bain”

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Scottish writer Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize 2020 on 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 first want to thank my mother…and my husband “, declared the winner during the transmission of the ceremony on video this Thursday evening at 9 p.m. on the air and on the BBC website.

According to the statutes of the prize, the Booker Prize is awarded to the best work of English-language fiction published in the UK and Ireland, but since 2013 juries have agreed to consider authors from outside the Commonwealth as well.

A radical and tender portrait

Before being the second Scottish winner (after James Kelman in 1994) of the Booker Prize, Douglas Stuart, 44, was already on the rise among British bookmakers. Shuggie Bath takes place in the 1980s, when Britain was ruled by the conservative Margaret Thatcher. It tells the story of a Scottish working family strongly affected by alcoholism and poverty. A radical and tender portrait of Agnes, an alcoholic mother, and her son Shuggie, a lonely boy in search of his sexual identity.

A first novel, partly autobiographical, to which the author devoted ten years during which he wrote this fierce story which takes place in Glasgow. It is in this city that Stuart grew up, in a neighborhood where he often faces homophobic violence. His mother, who sank into alcoholism, died when he was 16. To get by, he worked 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 by the loan house. -à-porter Calvin Klein, in New York.

Realize his dreams

Today, Douglas Stuart has dual British and American citizenship. And after two decades in fashion, the Booker Prize should allow her to realize a dream: to devote herself fully to writing. Just after receiving the prestigious prize, he also announced that he had already practically written his second book: a love story between two boys from Glasgow and their separation.

The award ceremony was broadcast live on the BBC and the BBC, with a speech by former US President Barack Obama (“ writing a book is not an easy task “). Douglas Stuart succeeds Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo, the winners crowned ex aequo in 2019.

Beyond the winner, the 2020 edition has established itself as an event that renews the English-speaking literary scene. Among the six writers on the final list were four women (including Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste and Zimbabwean writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga) and four early novels. In this particular year, the British prize will therefore have lived up to its reputation as a launcher of international literary careers.

► To read also: Tsitsi Dangarembga, dissident novelist and feminist from Zimbabwe

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The Booker Prize 2020 awarded to the Scottish Douglas Stuart for his novel “Shuggie Bain”