Write-Off with Francesca Steele

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Douglas Stuart

Season 1, Ep. 10

What a year the Booker prize winning author Douglas Stuart has had. Born on a housing estate in Glasgow Douglas and his siblings were raised by a single mum who died of alcoholism when he was 16. In his 30s, by this time working in fashion in New York, fouglas started writing a book about a little boy similar to him - Shuggie Bain, a kind, resilient, gay child struggling to fit in to his working class Thatcherite community and trying to take care of gregarious, well-meaning, alcoholic mother. Ten years later, the novel finally finished, it was rejected first by agents, then by 32 editors in the US alone. some of them even told his agent that the book was likely to win a big prize but that they didn’t know quite how to sell it. Then last year at the age of 44, Douglas won the £50,000 Booker prize, the second Scot ever to do so. Judges said itwas destined “to be a classic”.


It’s a remarkable reminder of how even the most accomplished books still have to find the right desk at the right time.


You can buy Shuggie Bain – and books by all my guests – here: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/francescasteele

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