ICM Partners’ Client Douglas Stuart Wins Booker Award for “Shuggie Bain”

ICM Partners is pleased to congratulate our client Douglas Stuart on receiving the 2020 Booker prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain.

“It is such an amazingly emotive, nuanced book that is hard to forget,” said Margaret Busby, a publisher and the chair of this year’s Booker judges. “It’s intimate, it’s challenging, it’s compassionate…it’s destined to be a classic.”

Gaby Wood, the literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, described Shuggie Bain as “appearing to be a very classical novel on a first reading, but actually when you reread it, you find it’s quite daring.”

Stuart’s novel, which was at first rejected by over 30 publishers before getting picked up by Grove Atlantic, is set in 1980’s Glasgow and centers on a sensitive boy named Shuggie who is at once struggling with his sexuality and caring for his alcoholic mother. The story was inspired by the author’s own upbringing and in fact shares many parallels to the trauma he experienced in losing his mother at 16. During his acceptance speech at the Booker ceremony, Stuart thanked his mother who is “on every page of this book – I’ve been clear without her I wouldn’t be here, my work wouldn’t be here”. Stuart also thanked “the people of Scotland, especially Glaswegians, whose empathy and humour and love and struggle are in every word of this book”.

As only the second Scottish author to win the prestigious literary award in over 50 years, Stuart said that award “means a lot for regional voices, for working-class voices.”

Shuggie Bain was also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. Stuart is currently working on his second novel, Loch Awe, a dark love story between two boys divided along sectarian lines.