Nicola Sturgeon Praises Douglas Stuart’s Novel After Reading Advance Copy

Nicola Sturgeon said Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart took his place as ‘one of Scottish literature’s greats’ as she praised his second novel.

The Scottish First Minister thanked the publisher for allowing him to read an advance copy of Young Mungo, which is due to be published in April.

She praised the book as “exquisitely written” and said it surpassed her debut novel Shuggie Bain, which won the Booker Prize in 2020.

Publisher Pan Macmillan describes Young Mungo as “a vivid portrait of working-class life and the deeply moving story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James”.

Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize with Shuggie Bain (David Parry/PA)

(PA wire)

Ms Sturgeon, renowned for her love of reading, tweeted: “So @Doug_D_Stuart, I wasn’t sure this could live up to Shuggie Bain, but this beats him.

“Deeply heartbreaking yet gently infused with hope and love. And so delightfully written.

“It’s a joy to watch, in real time, as you take your place among the greats of Scottish literature.”

The Glasgow-born writer spoke about his new book when he was interviewed by Ms Sturgeon at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last August.

He said Young Mungo was written long before he was nominated for the Booker Prize and “comes from a personal place”.

Stuart said: “This is the story of two young men. Editorial Shuggie asked me a question. He asked me about Shuggie’s sexuality, he asked me what we do to young men, to working class men, what we expect of them, how we hurt them, the way we do.

“And I couldn’t answer that in this book… so I wanted to step away and watch two teenagers growing up in 1991 in the East End of Glasgow, one of the most deprived areas as I grew up in me -even, and just sort of thinking about masculinity that way.

“So these two boys are divided by territorial gangs, scheme gangs, but they fall in love across the divide.

“The book is told in two separate parts, where you look at Glasgow and the blossoming of their love, but then the protagonist is sent to the north of Scotland, he knows not where, to make him a man.

“It’s a journey that has dire consequences for everyone involved.”

Stuart became the second Scottish writer to win the Booker Prize when he was recognized for Shuggie Bain, inspired by his childhood in Glasgow in the 1980s.

Irene B. Bowles