Paul Beatty Is 1st American to Win Britain’s Man Booker Prize

Beatty’s book The Sellout is a satirical look at race in America.

Paul Beatty, the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout, speaks onstage for the award ceremony at the Guildhall in London on Oct. 25, 2016. John Phillips-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most coveted literary award, was presented to author Paul Beatty Tuesday night, making him the first American to receive the award.

Beatty’s The Sellout is a biting satire about a young black man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. During his acceptance speech, Beatty spoke about how hard it was for him to write the book.

“It was a hard book for me to write; I know it’s hard to read,” Beatty said after his win. “I’m just trying to create space for myself. And hopefully, that can create space for others.”

The judges said Beatty “slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with verve and a snarl.”

The Man Booker Prize is valued at $61,000.

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