Brow Beat

The Sellout Author Paul Beatty Is the First American Ever to Win the Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty.

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Paul Beatty has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his acclaimed novel The Sellout, becoming the first American writer to do so. The award is determined by a five-person jury, and in this case, the decision was unanimous.

Beatty’s sharp social satire tackles racial stereotypes with equal parts outrageousness and profundity, exploring the legacy of slavery and racial equality in the U.S. “The truth is rarely pretty, and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” Amanda Foreman, the head of the Booker judging panel, said of The Sellout. “It plunges into the heart of contemporary American society.” The novel previously won the National Book Award for fiction in 2015.

Beatty recently participated in Slate’s survey of the funniest books by living writers, recommending three titles including Tibor Fischer’s Under the Frog, while Beatty’s books were recommended by Sam Lipsyte and Junot Díaz. Beatty also discussed The Sellout at length as part of Panoply’s podcast Live at Politics and Prose.