Paul Beatty’s race satire wins Man Booker Prize

News Hour:

Paul Beatty was on Tuesday named as the first American to win the prestigious Man Booker fiction prize, for “The Sellout”, a biting satire on race relations in the United States.

The narrator of “The Sellout”, an African-American called “Bonbon” tries to put his Californian town back on the map, from which it has been officially removed, by re-introducing slavery and segregation in its high school, reports Reuters.

The 289-page novel begins with “Bonbon” facing a hearing in the Supreme Court, looking back over the events that led up to that point.

The language is uncompromising and may offend some readers. So might some of the content – one old black film actor asks to become Bonbon’s slave – as Beatty lampoons racial stereotypes. The protagonist’s father is unjustly shot by police.

“This is a hard book. It was hard for me to write, it’s hard to read,” said a tearful Beatty immediately after winning the award at a ceremony at London’s historic Guildhall.

“For me, it’s just really gratifying that something that’s important to me is also important for other people,” he later told a news conference.

Chair of the five judges for the 50,000 pound ($60,900) prize Amanda Foreman said “The Sellout” had been a unanimous choice, reached after a meeting lasting some four hours.

It was publisher Oneworld’s second Man Booker victory after winning the 2015 prize for “A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Jamaican Marlon James.

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