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Gang battered me in street for being gay; Booker winner tells of teenage attack.

Byline: STUART MACDONALD

BOOKER Prize-winning author Douglas Stuart has revealed he was the victim of a brutal homophobic gang attack while growing up in Glasgow.

The writer told how he was beaten up and repeatedly stamped on as he lay on the ground.

He was only rescued when a housewife intervened, thinking the gang was attacking a dog.

Douglas, 44, won last year's Booker Prize for Shuggie Bain, a novel inspired by his childhood.

Set in the 80s, it follows a boy coming to terms with his sexuality while growing up in poverty in Glasgow with an alcoholic mother.

The author said he was bullied at school for being gay and subjected to violence when he became a teenager.

He said: "It was a lot of name calling and some days it was physical and they would beat me up and, as I got older and became a teenager, the violence escalated.

"There was a time I was set upon by about 12 boys in the street on a Saturday afternoon when I was 15.

"It was an old Glaswegian housewife who was driving by and stopped and got out because she thought the boys were stamping on a dog. She chased these boys away and at the centre of it was me."

Speaking on the Past Imperfect podcast, Douglas said he didn't "learn to love and accept myself until I was in my mid-30s, I think".

He added: "If I could sit my 16-year-old self down I would just try to encourage him to get there a bit quicker."

Douglas, who lives in New York and has spent two decades working in fashion, is the second Scot to win the Booker Prize, after James Kelman in 1994.

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Author:STUART MACDONALD
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 23, 2021
Words:293
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