Paul Beatty Makes History After Winning Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout. He becomes the first American to win the award. His book is described as a satire for racial politics in the United Stares, which makes it completely relevant.

The character in the story aims to embrace his African-American identity by bringing back slavery and segregation. Yes. You’re reading that correctly. It sounds like something that would likely make people uncomfortable, but I’m seeing critics compare him to Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain. I mean, that has to count for something.

Congratulations, Mr.Beatty – mostly for writing the book you sought to write.

Have you happened to read this book? Interested in checking it out now?

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Why Literary Awards Matter

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Photo Credit: Ben Stansall/Getty Images

From 2014 onward, the Man Booker Prize will be awarded to any book written in English. This year was the first in which authors from the United States were included. The prize is one of the most prestigious in the world.

This year’s prize was awarded to Richard Flanagan for his novelĀ The Narrow Road to the Deep North. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never read anything he’s ever written. I haven’t. This post is about something else. It’s about literary awards.

Flanagan’s book was one of those well-received works that struggled to find an audience. In fact, his previous books have also struggled to gain traction in the ultra competitive publishing industry here in the US. It was because of the poor sales of his titles that he was considering going to work in the Australian mines. Yes. An author who I can’t seem to find a bad word about online was going to work in mines because he was broke. He wasn’t a middle of the pack author with decent sales, he was broke. Until October 14.

October 14 was the day he won one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world. The cash prize is about $80,000, which isn’t bad in itself, but there was more on the way. Last week, Flanagan earned about $220, 000. That total is more than his previous ten years of BookScan sales. You’re talking about $300,000 to a man who had next to nothing.

I know plenty of you are thinking that writing isn’t all about making money. Okay. You probably say that as you have your “real” job that pays all your bills. Writing is a hobby to you. No matter what you say, but it isn’t for Flanagan. This is his job. His career. So don’t sit there and say literary awards don’t matter, because they do. Because there’s one writer out there who almost had to give up on writing because he was no longer able to support himself. He’s no longer facing that decision.

“In essence, this means I can continue to write.” -Richard Flanagan at the awards ceremony.