Paul Beatty has become the first American author to win the coveted Man Booker Prize, with his novel The Sellout. The book, a satirical novel about US racial politics beat 5 other shortlisted titles to win the top literary prize.
The 54 year old, Los Angeles-born writer, was compared to renowned novelists Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift by the panel of judges who praised his work.
They also revealed that it took just four hours to come to a decision on the winning book and that it was a unanimous decision.
Amanda Foreman, who headed up the panel said of the winning novel, ‘Fiction should not be comfortable. The truth is rarely pretty and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon… that is why the novel works.’
The prize was presented by the Duchess of Cornwall at a black-tie dinner at London’s Guildhall.
In Beatty’s acceptance speech he explained why he found it difficult to write admitting, ‘I hate writing’.
The Sellout follows a young man who lives in Los Angeles and tries to reintroduce slavery.
It has been a successful 12 months for the book’s publisher, Oneworld, a small independent business, that also represented last year’s winner Marlon James and his novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings.
Interested in the other books shortlisted for the top literary prize? Here are the other contenders that were in the running…
Hot Milk, Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
Set in Spain, Hot Milk is an enthralling book about the turbulent relationship between a daughter and her unwell mother. Buy here.
His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet (Contraband)
A 17-year-old boy is arrested following a violent triple murder
spree in a remote American town, leaving the residents questioning his
sanity. Buy here.
Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape)
novel tells the story of troubled Eileen Dunlop who, stuck amongst her
alcoholic father and dull day job, falls into a life of crime. Buy here.
All That Man is, David Szalay (Jonathan Cape)
examination of contemporary manhood, All That Man Is explores the lives
of nine men, all in different places around the world and at very
different stages of their lives. Buy here.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien (Granta Books)
In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.