On Tuesday, it was announced that Paul Beatty is the Man Booker Prize winner for 2016 for his novel, The Sellout. Beatty is the first American to receive the Man Booker Prize, which only began allowing American writers in 2013. The winning book, The Sellout, is Beatty's fourth novel, and he has also published two collections of poetry.
Beatty was raised in Los Angeles, but he later moved to New York City, where he studied creative writing with poet Allen Ginsberg and earned an MFA from Brooklyn College. (He also has a master's degree in psychology from Boston University.) While living in New York, he flexed his poetic muscles at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the East Village, where he was named the very first Grand Poetry Slam Champion in 1990. One year later, he published his first poetry collection, Big Bank Takes Little Bank; three years later, he released another called Joker, Joker, Deuce. His first novel, The White Boy Shuffle, was published in 1996, and three more came in the two decades that followed. If you want to dive into the work of the Man Booker Prize winner, here are his four novels:
1. The White Boy Shuffle (1996)
Santa Monica native Gunnar Kaufman moves to west Los Angeles with his mother. In his new urban environment, this awkward suburban kid transforms from loner surfer to basketball star to neighborhood messiah.
2. Tuff (2000)
Tuff lives in East Harlem, where he mostly gets by on his street-smarts and bulk. But he's tired of his life of selling drugs, and he wants to find a better way to support his wife and kid. His solution? He decides to run for City Council.
3. Slumberland (2008)
Los Angelino DJ Darky travels to Berlin in search of a jazz musician whom he believes can help him create the 'perfect beat.' In a recently united Berlin, DJ Darky is forced to confront many truths about himself.
4. The Sellout (2016)
The black narrator of this novel has spent his life in Dickens, California, a farming community on the brink of disappearance. In order to save his failing hometown, the narrator establishes a separatist society where schools are segregated and slaves are allowed. Unsurprisingly, his controversial decisions eventually land him in trial before the Supreme Court.