American author Paul Beatty has won the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Sellout. In a starred review Publishers Weekly called the novel a "droll, biting look at racism in modern America," and selected it as one of its Best Books of 2015.
The novel follows the story of Bonbon Me, a black farmer living in a rundown part of Los Angeles County, who is being tried in the Supreme Court over his attempt to reinstitute slavery and segregation in the local high school.
The 2016 Man Booker chair of judges Amanda Foreman called The Sellout "a novel for our times" and a "tirelessly inventive modern satire" with "a humor [that] disguises a radical seriousness." She went on to say that, in the novel, Beatty "slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl."
Beatty is the first American author to win the prize, and its attendant £50,000 purse, since it was expanded in 2014 to include books by authors born outside of the U.K. and the Commonwealth of Nations.
The award also stands as a win for the British independent publisher Oneworld, which released The Sellout in the U.K. With Beatty's victory, Oneworld has now published two consecutive Man Booker winners in England, having released last year's winning book, Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings.
The Sellout's American publisher, Picador, is experiencing some joy, as well, thanks to the award. Executive director of publicity James Meader told PW that a "substantial" number of orders came in for the novel following the announcement about it winning the literary prize. He said that Picador is planning to go back to press "in a robust way" this week.
Meader added that the book has been "selling steadily" throughout the past year, and that the publisher was already on a 7th paperback printing before the Booker announcement. He expects The Sellout will go back to press multiple times over the next month.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include new information.