Paul Beatty has been awarded the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel The Sellout (Oneworld), a satirical look at race in America. Beatty will receive £50,000 (approximately $61,000).
Beatty, fifty-four, is the first American author to win the prize. Of his winning book, 2016 chair of judges Amanda Foreman said, “The Sellout is a novel for our times. A tirelessly inventive modern satire, its humor disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.”
The Sellout was selected from a shortlist of finalists that included Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton), Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project (Contraband), Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen (Jonathan Cape), David Szalay’s All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape), and Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books). Each finalist receives £2,500 (approximately $3,050).
“I can’t tell you how long this journey has been,” Beatty said in his acceptance speech, at the Man Booker awards ceremony this evening in London. “Writing has given me a life.”
In addition to its Booker win, The Sellout received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
This is the third year that the Man Booker prize, established in 1969, has been open to any novel written in English and published in Britain, after having previously been given only to writers from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey, and Marlon James.
(Photo: Paul Beatty, Credit: Alex Welsh)