LONDON: Paul Beatty became the first US author to win the Man Booker Prize — the world’s most prestigious English-language literary award — for his novel “The Sellout” on Tuesday.
The jury said the novel was a “shocking and unexpectedly funny” portrayal of his native Los Angeles, which employs satire to explore racial equality in a fictional neighbourhood.
“I can’t tell you guys how long a journey this has been for me,” the writer, overwhelmed with emotion, said as he received the award from Prince Charles’s wife Camilla.
“In 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 jury said.
The author “presents through his beguilingly honest and well-intentioned hero an innocent’s view of his corrupt world”.
They said that the book brings “the unendurable status quo of present day US race relations to an absurdist conclusion, taking political correctness and self-loathing hostage en route”.
“The Sellout” is Beatty’s fourth novel and earlier this year it won the National Book Critics Circle Award in the United States.
The Man Booker Prize has traditionally been won by writers from Commonwealth states, but was opened up to authors from other English-speaking countries including the United States in 2013.