June 9, 1962|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Paul Beatty (born June 9, 1962) is an American author and an associate professor of writing at Columbia University. In 2016, he won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout. It was the first time a writer from the United States was honored with the Man Booker.
Early life and education
Born in Los Angeles in 1962, Beatty received an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College and an MA in psychology from Boston University. He is a 1980 graduate of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California.
In 1990, Beatty was crowned the first ever Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. One of the prizes for winning the championship title was the book deal that resulted in his first volume of poetry, Big Bank Take Little Bank (1991). This was followed by another book of poetry, Joker, Joker, Deuce (1994), and appearances performing his poetry on MTV and PBS (in the series The United States of Poetry). In 1993, he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
His first novel, The White Boy Shuffle (1996), received a positive review in The New York Times from reviewer Richard Bernstein, who called the book "a blast of satirical heat from the talented heart of black American life." His second book, Tuff (2000), received a positive notice in Time magazine. In 2006, Beatty edited an anthology of African-American humor called Hokum and wrote an article in The New York Times on the same subject. His 2008 novel Slumberland was about an American DJ in Berlin.
In his 2015 novel The Sellout, Beatty chronicles an urban farmer who tries to spearhead a revitalization of slavery and segregation in a fictional Los Angeles neighborhood. In The Guardian, Elisabeth Donnelly described it as "a masterful work that establishes Beatty as the funniest writer in America", while reviewer Reni Eddo-Lodge called it a "whirlwind of a satire", going on to say: "Everything about The Sellout's plot is contradictory. The devices are real enough to be believable, yet surreal enough to raise your eyebrows." The book took over five years to complete.
The Sellout was awarded the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, and the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Beatty is the first American to have won the Man Booker Prize, for which all English-language novels became eligible in 2014.
Awards and honors
- 2009 Creative Capital Award for The Sellout
- 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction), winner for The Sellout.
- 2016 Man Booker Prize winner for The Sellout.
- 2017 International Dublin Literary Award long-list for The Sellout
- Big Bank Take Little Bank (1991). Nuyorican Poets Cafe Press. ISBN 0-9627842-7-3
- Joker, Joker, Deuce (1994). ISBN 0-14-058723-3
- The White Boy Shuffle (1996). ISBN 0-312-28019-X
- Tuff (2000). Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40122-9
- Slumberland (2008). Bloomsbury USA, ISBN 978-1596912410
- The Sellout (2015). New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. London: Oneworld Publications, 2016. ISBN 978-1786071477 (hardback), 978-1786070159 (paperback)
- Paul Beatty faculty page, Columbia University School of the Arts
- Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe (2008), Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. Soft Skull Press, p. 45. ISBN 1-933368-82-9.
- Aptowicz, p. 46.
- Aptowicz, p. 80.
- "Grants to artists, Poetry 1993 | Paul Beatty", Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
- Bernstein, Richard (May 31, 1996). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Black Poet's First Novel Aims the Jokes Both Ways". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
- "Books: Tuff By Paul Beatty", Time Magazine, May 1, 2000.
- "Black Humor", The New York Times, January 22, 2006.
- Patrick Neate, "Jukebox sommelier", The Guardian, December 6, 2008.
- Donnelly, Elisabeth, "Paul Beatty on writing, humor and race: 'There are very few books that are funny'", The Guardian, March 10, 2015.
- Eddo-Lodge, Reni, "The Sellout by Paul Beatty review – a whirlwind satire about racial identity", The Guardian, May 11, 2016.
- "A Swiftian hero", The Economist, October 29, 2016. Article withdrawn for similarities with other articles, with apology.
- "National Book Critics Circle Announces Award Winners for Publishing Year 2015", March 17, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- Sandhu, Sukhdev, "Paul Beatty: 'Slam poetry, TED talks: they're for short attention spans'", The Guardian, June 24, 2016.
- "Sellout Wins 2016 Man Booker Prize". The Man Booker Prize.
- Alter, Alexandra, "Paul Beatty Wins Man Booker Prize With 'The Sellout'", The New York Times, October 25, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- Masters, Tim, "Man Booker Prize: Paul Beatty becomes first US winner for The Sellout", BBC News, October 26, 2016.
- Charlotte Higgins, "Turned down 18 times. Then Paul Beatty won the Booker …", The Guardian, October 26, 2016.
- Alter, Alexandra (March 17, 2016). "'The Sellout' Wins National Book Critics Circle's Fiction Award". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- Beatty, Paul, "Black Humor", The New York Times, January 22, 2006.
- African American Literature Book Club for Paul Beatty
- Excerpt from Slumberland at BookBrowse
- Interview at Full Stop, June 30, 2015.
- Gatti, Tom, "Paul Beatty: 'I invented a Richter scale for racism'", New Statesman, November 2, 2016.
- Oscar Villalon, "Paul Beatty on Los Angeles Lit, The Sellout, and Life After the Man Booker", Zyzzyva, June 4, 2018, via LitHub.