Douglas Stuart wins Booker prize for debut Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart has won the Booker Prize for Shuggie Bain, his debut novel about a boy in 1980s Glasgow trying to support his mother as she struggles with addiction and poverty.

Chair of judges Margaret Busby said the judges’ decision was unanimous and they only “took an hour to decide”.

The book is “challenging, intimate and gripping… anyone who reads it will never feel the same” she said.

Stuart, 44, said he was “absolutely stunned” to win.

Virtual hug for nominees

He dedicated his book and his prize to his mother, who died of alcoholism when he was 16.

The writer added he would like to give his fellow nominees “a hug” and that the “greatest gift” was being able to “touch readers’ lives”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the book was “turned down 32 times” before it was finally published.

“As someone writing a working class story – as a boy I always felt excluded by books… – it pays to persevere, and I’m so grateful to be here now,” he said.

The novel follows the life of Agnes Bain, who is descending into despair and struggling with alcohol after the breakdown of her marriage.

All but one of her children have been driven away by her deterioration, and that child, Shuggie, struggles to help Agnes while suffering huge personal problems of his own.

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