Beatty wins

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

PAUL Beatty has be­came the first US au­thor to win the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sell­out, which the nov­el­ist said should not be read as a “monodi­rec­tional” take on race.

The jury be­hind the world’s most pres­ti­gious English-lan­guage lit­er­ary award said the novel was a “shock­ing and un­ex­pect­edly funny” por­trayal of Beatty’s na­tive Los An­ge­les, us­ing satire to ex­plore racial equal­ity in a fic­tional neigh­bour­hood.

Beatty said read­ers should think of the novel as a work of fic­tion rather than solely fo­cus­ing on race.

“I tend to bris­tle when peo­ple say it’s black, it’s an­gry, it’s about race,” he told jour­nal­ists after pick­ing up the award at a glitzy black-tie cer­e­mony in Lon­don’s his­toric Guild­hall build­ing on Oc­to­ber 25.

“Hope­fully it’s not so monodi­rec­tional.

“Th­ese la­bels are more mal­leable than we like to think about them,” the 54-year-old writer said.

Beatty ap­peared over­whelmed when he took to the stage to re­ceive the award from Prince Charles’ wife Camilla.

“I can’t tell you guys how long a jour­ney this has been for me,” he said.

The jury said that through his “equally af­fec­tion­ate and bit­terly ironic por­trait of the city and its in­hab­i­tants, Paul Beatty dodges in­her­ited views of race re­la­tions, so­lu­tions or as­sump­tions”.

The au­thor “presents through his be­guil­ingly hon­est and wellinten­tioned hero an in­no­cent’s view of his cor­rupt world”, the ju­rors added, bring­ing “the un­en­durable sta­tus quo of present day US race re­la­tions to an ab­sur­dist con­clu­sion”.

The win­ner of the Man Booker receives £52,500 (US$64,100), al­though the real prize is seen as the huge sales prompted the mo­ment judges an­nounce their de­ci­sion.

The Man Booker was launched in 1969 and has awarded prizes to writ­ers in­clud­ing Ian McEwan, Iris Mur­doch and Sal­man Rushdie.

It was only opened to nonCom­mon­wealth au­thors from 2013 – a de­ci­sion that was highly con­tro­ver­sial in Bri­tain.

No US au­thor had won it un­til now, de­spite con­cerns that writ­ers from the United States would dom­i­nate the prize.

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