Debut novel ‘Shuggie Bain’ wins 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction

Congratulations to Douglas Stuart on winning the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction with his debut novel Shuggie Bain. He receives the £50,000 prize, a trophy, a designer-bound edition of his book and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.

Shuggie Bain is based on Stuart’s childhood, growing up in Thatcher’s Glasgow of the 1980s, with a mother who is battling addiction – she died of alcoholism when he was 16. He began writing in his spare time a decade ago.

Margaret Busby, 2020 chair of judges, said: ‘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.’

Shuggie Bain is published by Grove Press.

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