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Booker Prize winner on his debut novel

23 November 2020

‘Growing up as the boy I was and now the man that I am in New York, they feel like two very different people. And so, though this is on-the-back-of-a-cornflakes-box psychology, it was a good way for me to make sense of the whole of me and to sort of stitch myself together. I love the boy I was. It wasn't always easy but I wanted to conjure that world. Fiction allows you take control of a situation that you might not have control over in real life. On the west coast of Scotland, we are never allowed to think of ourselves as exceptional - never exceptionally great or exceptionally hard done to. And a memoir is thinking there's an exception there that is worth sharing...

(He was acutely aware of writing "poverty safari" for a largely middle-class readership.) People like to come through for a tour and then they go back to worrying about oat milk. I thought, "Well if we are going to do that, then you are coming for a stay." We are going to look at a woman drinking. You are going to be in the room with these people to the extent that you are going to leave the book with some sense of understanding them.'

Douglas Stuart, author of debut novel Shuggie Bain, which has just won the 2020 Booker Prize, in the Guardian