The Man Booker Prize has been won by Paul Beatty. He was announced as the winner of the £50,000 ($60,000) prize in London on Tuesday evening. The Los Angeles-born writer’s novel, The Sellout, has been hailed by critics for its laugh-out-loud examination of US racial politics. The Swiftian satire about a man who wishes to assert his African-American identity by bringing back slavery and segregation, might be, as Beatty himself says, a difficult book for some, but the head of the Booker judging panel, historian Amanda Foreman, praised its fearless stance. “Fiction should not be comfortable,” Foreman said. “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.” Although the judges deliberated for hours, the final decision was unanimous, reports the Guardian.
Beatty is the first American writer to win the Booker since the rules were changed in 2013, allowing writers of any nationality whose books are published in the UK to be eligible. The other nominated novels were Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh (US), Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (Canada), All That Man Is by David Szalay (Canada-UK), His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK), and Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (UK).