Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty

New York, NY

Poet and novelist Paul Beatty is the author of two volumes of poetry—Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce—and three novels—Tuff, The White Boy Shuffle and Slumberland. He is also the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. His essays have appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times and other publications. He is the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, a Jasper Johns Fellowship, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.

The Sellout

Paul Beatty

Artist Bio

A novel that tells the story of a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant. The work tells the story of “Hominy” Jenkins, a resident of Los Angeles’s Dickens neighborhood and the last living member of the original Our Gang television show cast. As this poverty-stricken hometown’s most famous resident, Hominy is tasked go out into the world and find Dickens, its sister city. Inspired by Beatty’s work with the mentally ill as well as a range of authors, from contemporary novelist W.G. Sebald to Japanese haiku master Basho, The Sellout is about the lesser-known aspects of Los Angeles, including its enduring Wild West legacy.

The novel was published in 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize for The Sellout in 2016—he was the first American to do so.

Award Year