Glasgow-born author Douglas Stuart has made the shortlist of Britain’s most high-profile literary prize the Booker, with his debut novel Shuggie Bain.

Stuart is one of four debut novelists named in the final six-strong shortlist for the prize worth £50,000.

Stuart, who started life in Sighthill and now lives in New York, spent 12 years writing his novel while working as a fashion designer. Shuggie Bain is about a young boy growing up in Glasgow in the 1980s with a mother who is struggling with alcoholism. It’s a powerful, heartbreaking yet beautifully written account of poverty, homophobia and addiction that draws on Stuart’s own life story.

“Shuggie is definitely a work of fiction,” he told the Herald Magazine in August, “although I am the queer son of a single mother who lost her battle to addiction.”

After the shortlist announcement was made Stuart posted a message on Twitter to say how thrilled he was by the news.

“My own beautiful mother died of her addiction about 28 years ago. She was never voiceless - it was just people didn’t like to listen. I like to think she’ll be dancing in heaven tonight. All the lassies from the scheme will be there, cans cracked, Rod Stewart blaring,” he said.


The Booker shortlisting of Shuggie Bain follows the success last week of Edinburgh-based novelist Maggie O’Farrell who won the Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel Hamnet, a fictionalised account of the life and death of Shakespeare’s son who died of the plague when he was just 11.

The other authors on the Booker Prize shortlist are Diane Cook for her novel The New Wilderness, Tsitsi Danarembga, author of This Mournable Body, Avni Doshi for Burnt Sugar, Maaza Mengiste, whose novel is entitled The Shadow King and Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life.

The winner will be announced on November 17.