American Author Paul Beatty Wins The 2016 Man Booker Prize
Mon 31 Oct 2016
On Tuesday 25th October, American author Paul Beatty was named winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his book The Sellout. The prestigious event was held at the Guildhall in London and catered for by Moving Venue by Smart. The Sellout is published by small independent publisher Oneworld, who had their first win last year with Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Paul Beatty is the first American author to win The Man Booker Prize in its 48-year history. The 2016 shortlist included two British, two US, one Canadian and one British-Canadian writer. The Sellout is a searing satire on race relations in contemporary America. The book is described by The New York Times as a ‘metaphorical multicultural pot almost too hot to touch’, whilst the Wall Street Journal called it a ‘Swiftian satire of the highest order.
The Sellout is narrated by African-American ‘Bonbon’, a resident of the run-down town of Dickens in Los Angeles county, which has been removed from the map to save California from embarrassment. Bonbon is being tried in the Supreme Court for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation in the local high school as means of bringing about civic order. What follows is a retrospective of this whirlwind scheme, populated by cartoonish characters who serve to parody racial stereotypes.
Amanda Foreman, 2016 Chair of judges said: “The Sellout is a novel for our times. A tirelessly inventive modern satire, its humour disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.”
Paul Beatty’s win was announced by Amanda Foreman at a black-tie dinner at London’s Guildhall, where he was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Luke Ellis, Chief Executive of Man Group. Guests at the event, which was broadcast live on the BBC News Channel, included the shortlisted authors, well-known figures from the literary world and VIPs including AS Byatt, Ben Okri, Karen Bradley, John Hurt and Fiona Shaw.
Guests were treated to a sumptuous three course dinner catered for by Moving Venue, which consisted of sweet corn croquettes with baby heritage radishes, red pepper purée, mustard seed caviar and tarragon dressing for the starter. Main course was a venison fillet lightly roasted with poached pear, smoked bacon panna cotta, Jerusalem artichoke purée, roasted carrots, venison jus and bitter chocolate oil. To polish off dinner, guests tucked into a cranberry walnut treacle tart with cranberry jam, orange sorbet, speculoos tuille and clementine segments.
Other recent winners have included Hilary Mantel (2012 and 2009), whose Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies have led to award-winning adaptations on stage and screen, and Julian Barnes (2011), whose The Sense of an Ending will soon be adapted for film. Other winning novels that have gone on to have second or third lives on stage and screen include Schindler’s Ark (directed by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List), The Remains of the Day and The English Patient.
Royal Mail is issuing a congratulatory postmark featuring the winner’s name, which will be applied to millions of items of stamped mail nationwide from Wednesday 26 to Saturday 29 October 2016. It will say ‘Congratulations to Paul Beatty, winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize’.
For more information on the 2016 Man Booker Prize, please visit: www.themanbookerprize.com