Paul Beatty: Life and Works

Life Introduction

Paul Beatty is one of the most popular American writers. He is also an associate professor of writing at Columbia University. He was born on June 9, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. He married Althea Wasow who was the sister of Omar Wasow, the founder of Black Planet Founder. He is 60 years old now.

paul beatty
Paul Beatty


He got an MFA degree from Brooklyn College in the field of creative writing. Paul Beatty received an MA degree also in psychology from Boston University. He graduated from El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California.


Big Bank Take Little Bank 1991 was Paul Beatty’s first collection of poetry. In 1994 another volume of poetry was published under the title ‘Joker, Joker Deuce’. Paul Beatty was granted the foundation for contemporary Arts Grants Artists Award in 1993. He published his first novel in 1996 under the title ‘The White Boy Shuffle’ this novel gained positive reviews. It was called a Blast of Satirical Heat’ by Richard Bernstein. ‘Tuff’ was his next novel which was published in 2000. This novel also got positive reviews. In 2006, Paul Beatty edited ‘Hokum’, which was an anthology of Afro-American humour. He also wrote an article on the topic which was the best buy the New York Times work in 2008 slumber lunch this novel was based on an American DJ in Berlin.

In 2015, Paul Beatty wrote The Sellout. This novel of his is a remarkable work. It got National Book Cretic Award for fiction in 2015 and it was also awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2016. He was the first American who won the Man Booker Prize.


  • Big Bank Take Little Bank in 1991
  • Joker, Joker, Deuce in 1994
  • The White Boy Shuffle in 2008
  • Slumberland In 2008
  • The Sellout in 2015


Paul Beatty won several awards. Some of them are written below:

  • Creative Capital Award in 2019
  • National Book Critics Award in 2015
  • Booker Prize in 2016
  • International Dublin Literary Award in 2017

The Sellout

The Sellout is a satirical novel written by an Afro- American writer Paul Beatty. It was published in 2015. This novel is based on the theme of untouchability. There are several characters in this story but Bonbon is the central character. He was the son of a single father and they had a weak relationship between father and son. His father was a professor of psychology. His father held lofty expectations for Bonbon to become a respected leader in his community in Dickens. The story starts with the explanation of the narrator in the court that he had stolen nothing. He is accused that he is holding enslaved people and trying to bring back racial segregation. His father had always seen him just as an object but as a son. His father tried to his son to be aware of the racialism in his society but Bonbon did not think that racism is much of a problem in the modern world. But later he (Bonbon) himself realised the discrimination because of racialism when he was charged a big amount than others only for soda because of his skin colour. The narrator’s father was killed by a policeman.

One day, the narrator came to know that Dickens is removed from the map to increase the value of property in the surrounding areas. He dedicated himself to putting Dickens back on the map. He shared his plan with his friends and his supporters to get back Dickens on the map. Later, he argued with Foy Cheshire about removing racial epithets from classic literature. Foy Cheshire calls him a sellout.

The narrator makes a plan to Hominy to put Dickens back on the map so they mark the city limits with spray. Foy goes to the middle school and protests there for Charisma’s ( an assistant principal of the middle school) refusal to enter the white students inside the school. And then the narrator reaches there and confronts Foy. Foy shoots him. Then the narrator’s plan to segregate the city and hold Hominy as an enslaved person was exposed by the investigators and the narrator is arrested.

Now after 5 years, the case is still on trial and the narrator waits for the court’s decision. He had a relationship with Marpessa ( a bus driver) which he continues.

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