Douglas Stuart: Love, Hope and Grit 14 November 2022: imagine… on BBC One

Douglas Stuart: Love, Hope and Grit 14 November 2022: imagine... on BBC One 11

Alan Yentob meets Douglas Stuart at a critical point in his career as he emerges from the starlight of his triumphant debut novel, and winner of the Booker Prize, Shuggie Bain. imagine… walks the streets of Glasgow’s East End and the East Village in New York as Douglas Stuart tries to unite two very different sides of his life through his writing.

Shuggie Bain centres around an alcoholic single mother and her queer son as they navigate life on a Glasgow sink estate. It is distilled through Stuart’s own troubled upbringing in poverty and addiction in 1980s Glasgow. imagine…takes him back to the old haunts in the novel: Sighthill, the Barras Market and the Grand Ole Opry.

We meet the two art teachers who, according to Stuart, saved his life. Just like his character Shuggie, he had lost his own mother to alcohol addiction. Douglas Stuart was on the cusp of homelessness, struggling to stay on at school, but in just a few years he went from a Glasgow bedsit to the Royal College of Art, and then landed in the epicentre of New York fashion, working for Calvin Klein.

Alan Yentob retraces Stuart’s remarkable journey in New York, where he was now able to be open about his sexuality, having faced isolation and homophobia growing up. However, despite his astonishing success in the fashion world, he had not processed the memories of his childhood. In 2009, he started writing the early drafts of Shuggie Bain as he travelled on the subway into work.

This year sees the publication of Young Mungo, his second, highly anticipated novel, a love story about two teenage boys coming to terms with their queer identity in the sectarian Glasgow of the author’s youth.

Contributors include Alan Cumming, Val McDermid and Lulu, plus readings from local Glaswegians.

About imagine…

The arts series edited and presented by Alan Yentob.

This show is broadcast on BBC, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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