20 November 2020
The Scottish writer took the £50,000 prize for his debut, Shuggie Bain
His autobiographical novel of a young boy growing up in 1980s Glasgow was 'destined to be a classic,' said Margaret Busby, the chair of judges. 'It is such an amazingly emotive, nuanced book that is hard to forget. It’s intimate, it’s challenging, it’s compassionate.'
Shuggie Bain, which follows a young boy struggling to care for his alcoholic mother, was rejected by thirty publishers before being picked up by Picador. Douglas is the second Scot to win the prize, after James Kelman in 1994.
'When James won in the mid-90s, Scottish voices were seen as disruptive and outside the norm,' said Douglas in his acceptance speech last night. 'And now to see Shuggie at the centre of it, I can’t express it. Young boys like me growing up in 80s Glasgow, this wasn’t ever anything I would have dreamed of.'