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Beatty, Paul

Entry updated 11 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

(1962-    ) US poet and author whose fictions comprise a deeply Satirical and hilarious anatomy of "Post-Racial America", a land where DWB (Driving While Black) is not a technical offense. The astronomically popular poet who narrates The White Boy Shuffle (1996) – his first collection, Watermelanin, has sold 126,000,000 copies – copes with an absurd but recognizable California (his mail-order bride arrives from Japan via UPS) and becomes an unwilling Christ figure through his declared willingness to commit suicide in order to dramatize the nature of the world. The protagonist of Beatty's fourth novel, Sellout (2015), which may be understood be set in a Comic Inferno version of the very Near Future, creates an urban Keep in Los Angeles where slavery has been reinstated; Sellout was awarded the Man Booker prize in 2016, Beatty being the first American to gain that Award. Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (anth 2006) assembles a dauntingly various and sophisticated array of humorous work. [JC]

Paul Beatty

born Los Angeles, California: 1962


  • The White Boy Shuffle (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996) [hb/]
  • Tuff (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2000) [hb/]
  • Slumberland (New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2008) [hb/]
  • Sellout (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015) [hb/]

works as editor


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