Author DBC Pierre has won the £50,000 Booker Prize for his first novel, black comedy Vernon God Little.
Vernon God Little is about a high school massacre in Texas, and the chairman of the judges, Professor John Careythe, called it a "coruscating black comedy reflecting our alarm but also our fascination with America".
He also said: "The language is extremely vivid, most inventive, it's extremely exciting and very funny."
Also nominated were Margaret Atwood, who won in 2000, plus Damon Galgut, Zoe Heller, Clare Morrall, and bookies' favourite Monica Ali.
What do you think of the judges decision?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I have yet to read the winning book - and can't wait to do so. I agree that sometimes publicity can be too much of a poison chalice at times - particularly when one is the bookies favourite. However 'Brick Lane' is superb and anyone - Ali or DBC Pierre - who reaches such success with a first time book (with or without the massive publicity that comes naturally with large book deals these days) should be applauded. Fantastic achievement all round.
Good luck to DBC. Anyone who can win the Booker prize with his first shot, deserves it, well done I say.
DBC Pierre you deserved this prize. I must admit that Monica Ali's Brick Lane did have me going in favour of her lovely novel, but as soon as I read the BBC online excerpts of your Vernon God Little.... my votes were all yours. Well done.
Zaneefa Mohammed, Trinidad and Tobago
I think it is unfortunate, in fact, that Monica Ali's chances were possibly even harmed by all the media attention. I met her after her talk with the Women's Institute - she's not 'media hungry' at all... although the PR company has definitely being 'getting her out there'. Such a pity - what a wonderful book!
An East Londoner, UK
A very brave choice on the part of the judges, particularly following the weekend disclosures about Pierre's past. I haven't read Vernon God Little but will be acquiring it without delay. I feel sorry for Margaret Atwood whose Oryx and Crake is absolutely stunning. But it's good that a first-time author has won the Booker -it gives us struggling writers some hope.
John O'Byrne, Dublin, Ireland
Having read the majority-female shortlist, I was very hopeful for the prospects of the delicate and moving Astonishing Splashes of Colour. DBC Pierre was the one I least supported - seemed right in the old "boys own" model of literature.
James Mackay, UK
It's brilliant that the judges choose a fantastic and thrilling good read. I have to admit that I have got a little tired of the Monica Ali publicity machine and its hype. At last a real writing talent has shone through - not just a pretty, media attractive face!
Jane Peters, UK
I've not read any of the other books, so cannot comment on them, but I can say that Vernon God Little is absolutely brilliant. It is very funny, original and compelling.
Well done to the judges for not falling to the hype which is Monica Ali, and choosing a magnificent, original and brave book as the winner. Thank goodness the publicity hungry Ali didn't win - I'm a little bored with spin over substance.
Pete Turner, London, UK
I read Zoe Heller and wanted her to win. Then I read DBC - a bit of a struggle to get into - but by the end I just new he would win! Well done DBC, keep them coming.
Angela Snow, England
Of the short listed books I have only read Heller's 'Notes on a Scandal' and Pierre's 'Vernon God Little', either of which I felt to be worthy winners. Pierre certainly manages to capture the confused and satirical voice of youth and clearly writes with enormous passion and energy. I'm very interested to see where he goes from here.
Tracy Lee, UK
I'm ecstatic he won. The book is hilarious and it grabs you by the neck right from the start. I knew he'd win from just reading the BBC online excerpts, (which inspired me to go out and buy it immediately) it was the only one that didn't cause my eyes to slide off the page in boredom!
Marie-Louise Hogan, UK
After reading four of the six books (Vernon God Little, Notes on a scandal, Brick lane and Oryx and Crake) I felt Vernon God to be the best. A scintillating read which grows after a difficult start. The most amazing thing is I was utterly convinced it was written by an American despite knowing otherwise. The judges got it right and DBC is an inspiration to all would be writers.
Matt Bingham, UK
Some unutterably dull books seem to get shortlisted for the Booker, and this year's award was no exception. The literary scene in Britain seems dominated by a little coterie of newspaper literary editors and reviewers who all review each other's books or pick up on this or that fashionable author of the moment who is then elevated to great heights before descending back into well-deserved obscurity. Meanwhile, the reading public just gets on with reading what it likes, regardless of the recommendations of the snobbish and incestuous journalist-dominated literati.
I think it's a good choice. The winner judged by content, not by reputation. It feels new, lively imaginative. Readers get weary of all the same pretentious predictable offerings which characterise Booker shortlists.
Heather Underwood, Kuwait
I've only read one book on the list so it's difficult to offer an opinion as to whether the judges' decision was the best one.
However I really enjoyed Zoe Heller's 'Notes on a Scandal', it was really well written with the reader feeling a mixture of anger and sympathy towards both main characters. Highly recommended. I was wondering if there are any runners up with the Booker prize?
Congratulations to DBC Pierre, better luck to the runners up next year. Glad it wasn't Margaret Atwood..."Oryx and Crake" was not her best...Hope Monica Ali will continue to write....
Hazera Bibi, England
Very well deserved. Nice to see the judges take a risk and go for the kind of novel we wouldn't usually see on the Booker Prize Winner's list. The fact that one judge said he felt uncomfortable picking it as explored contemporary American society - a country not open to the Booker - was ludicrous. Nobody felt uncomfortable with Rusdie setting his novel in India or Okri in Africa, so why not? A good, funny, bitingly satirical read. Well done DBC.
It's been 9 years since James Kellman won (which I still haven't forgiven them for) and the judges must have thought it was time for another loser to start winning. This book is dreadful. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I paid £70 for a signed first edition of Brick Lane on Monday!! Monica Ali deserved to win.
Emma Taylor, UK
Sounds like a good result to me. Last year I had the feeling that most of the judges preferred other books but opted for Yann Martel as the most obviously Bookerish winner, but this year they seemed pretty unanimous.
Began to read the book last weekend and so far love it. Have to say though that I had to open a dictionary to look up the exact meaning of the judge's description of 'coruscating'! They were right - it 'sparkles'.
Booker judges have almost always flown in the face of the bookies, and good luck to them. The prize should be all about rewarding innovation, excitement, risk, danger, progress and pushing back the frontiers of writing, rather than enabling established writers taking turns at earning a nice little backhander. After all, this is not the Oscars!
Of the six Booker short listed titles I have got three, two I read and loved (Notes on a Scandal and Brick Lane) and one that I started, read about 40 pages and gave up because I wasn't enjoying it at all... this one was Vernon God Little. I'm disappointed at the prize, the book could get better towards the end and I might give it another try, but I didn't think it was funny or captivating in the least.
Vernon God Little was the best of an unimpressive short list. Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night Time was the most skilful and compelling book out this year.
I find it funny that the booker winner has written a book about America while only a year ago, there was great commotion surrounding a Man Group proposal to allow American writer's to compete for the prize.
The general criteria to adjudge the Booker Prize is understandable. However, it seems there's a continuous "euro-drift" in selecting the winner for quite some time now. Monica Ali's debutant novel "Brick Lane" was rated very highly and she was a strong contender in the race. I think the judges need to have fathom(ed) down the background one is hailing from and the country, especially one represents. Though Bangladesh is a poor country, Bengali literature is rich by any class and that element ought to have been considered. Lastly, "Man Booker Prize" is rather parochial, male-dominated and stands to give a short shrift to woman authors. Why don't start a "Woman Booker" to recognize the woman's share in literature. After all language starts from the mother and that's how it's considered a "Mother tongue" since millennia.
Sultan Akhtar Patel, India
Sultan, India: The "Man" in the title of the prize is the name of the sponsor (Man Group plc), it doesn't mean it's dominated by male authors and judges!
Thomas Davies, UK
Anything that insults or satirizes the US - or, even better, US gun-love - it's gold baby. Gold!
S.A. Smith, USA
The Booker had started to become a bit boring, awarding novelists not for the quality of their nominated book but for their life's work, Pierre and last year's winner Martel have shown that the award has matured.
From the reviews Vernon God Little seems to be one of the more lively and original books on the shortlist and that's good enough for me. The Booker judges have a track record recently of picking the stylish and unusual, which is reflected in the previous three winners: Life of Pi, True History of the Kelly Gang and The Blind Assassin. This can only be good - there's no need to heap prizes on stylistically backward-looking stuff like Sarah Waters, William Trevor and Damon Galgut, however accomplished the books may be. Literature like any creative form has to keep moving forward to stay alive.
Alan Simpson, Belfast, NI
Given the short list, the judges' decision appears sound. The bigger question is...how could any self-respecting judge leave Colum McCann's Dancer off the short list? It's inconceivable that five better novels were published last year.
James Clark, USA
Ridiculous! The Booker is going to the dogs! Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal deserved to win. At least the judges didn't take the more predictable and expected path by choosing Monica Ali.
Ann Brogan, Germany