Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize for fiction with Shuggie Bain, the story of a boy’s turbulent coming of age in hardscrabble 1980s Glasgow.
The Scottish writer won USD$ 66,000 award on Thursday for his first published novel.
He was the only British author on a US-dominated list of six finalists for the prize, open to English-language novels from around the world.
Margaret Busby, who chaired the judging panel, said Shuggie Bain was destined to be a classic.
She called it intimate and gripping, challenging but hopeful in its exploration of young Shuggie’s complex but loving relationship between mother and son.
The winner was announced at a live-streamed ceremony in London that included remote appearances by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and former US President Barack Obama.
In an emotional speech, the 44-year-old, who now lives in New York, said, “My mother would be thrilled, she would be absolutely thrilled and I think she would be proud.”
He said that he had carried “a lot of love and pain” and writing the book was “incredibly healing for me”.
He also paid tribute to his native city, saying that “growing up in Glasgow I think is one of the greatest inspirations of my life.”
Before the announcement, British bookmakers had backed Stuart to claim the prize for the best work of English-language fiction published in the UK and Ireland.