Douglas Stuart Wins 2020 Booker Prize for Novel, ‘Shuggie Bain’

Douglas Stuart is the proud recipient of the 2020 Booker Prize for his national best-selling novel, Shuggie Bain, which details the life of a young boy growing up amidst poverty and addiction in 1980’s Glasgow, Scotland.




Hugh “Shuggie” Bain is a quiet boy living in public housing in 1980’s Glasgow, watching his mother, Agnes, struggle with drug addiction and financial trials resulting from her dependency. As in any unhealthy home, Shuggie’s older and more independent siblings distance themselves from Agnes, yet this leaves Shuggie as the only boon for his ailing mother. He’s forced to grow up too soon, parenting his own parent throughout the highs and lows of her alcoholism and brief periods of sobriety, all the while attempting to embody the life of a normal boy his age.

“A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love,” reads the publisher’s description. “Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen in fiction. Recalling the work of Édouard Louis, Alan Hollinghurst, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, it is a blistering debut by a brilliant novelist who has a powerful and important story to tell.”



The decision to award Stuart with the booker prize for Shuggie Bain was a unanimous one, taking the judges panel just one hour to deliberate. The chair of the judges, Margaret Busby, is quoted as describing the novel as, “challenging, intimate and gripping… anyone who reads it will never feel the same.”

Written through the perspective of one who understands Shuggie’s pains, Stuart dedicated his award winning novel, and now this prize, to his mother, who died from alcoholism when he was just sixteen. According to BBC, Stuart stated that the greatest gift his novel has brought him as the ability to “touch reader’s lives.”

Shuggie Bain is also currently a finalist for the National Book Awards.


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