The pandemic prize, livestreamed in lieu of having the literary world in attendance, was a rags to rag-trade to riches story when the erstwhile fashion designer Douglas Stuart won.

Stuart’s Shuggie Bain is a Mcbildungsroman set in working-class Glasgow in the febrile 1980s and the character of Shuggie reflected something of the author’s own difficult childhood. The novel was a serial rejectee, being turned down by some 30 publishers before being picked up by Picador.

Stuart, who had a career in fashion in New York, cited the only other Scottish winner as an inspiration; reading James Kelman, he said, was one of the first times he ‘had seen his people and dialect on the page’.  

Douglas Stuart
Published by
Won the Booker Prize in 2020. Douglas Stuart’s blistering and heartbreaking debut is an exploration of the unsinkable love that only children can have for their damaged parents.

The Shortlist

Shuggie Bain
Prize winner
The New Wilderness
This Mournable Body
Burnt Sugar
The Shadow King
Real Life

The Longlist

The 2020 judges