Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout, was named winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize this week, the first American writer to take home the coveted award in its 48-year history. U.S. authors were not eligible for the Man Booker until 2014.
Beatty, 54, won the $60,871.68 first prize, $3,091 prize for being a finalist, and a trophy. Beatty lives in New York City, but was raised in Los Angles. His novel is a satire about U.S. race relations.
“Bonbon,” an African-American resident of Dickens, a run-down town in Los Angeles County, narrates the story. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Bonbon for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation at the local high school as a means of bringing about civic order.
The attempt follows the racist and unjust deadly police shooting of Bonbon’s father.
“The Sellout is a novel for our times,” said Amanda Foreman, chair of the judges. “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.”
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognized as the leading award for high quality literary fiction written in English.