Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart has said he only discovered his love of literature after his mother died when he was 16 years old.
The Scottish native was named as this year's recipient of the annual book award, which sees the winner handed a 50,000-pound (US$66,250) prize.
Stuart's book Shuggie Bain is based on his childhood and tells the story of a young, gay boy growing up with an addict mother in Glasgow in the 1980s.
He has previously described how he drew on his own experiences as a gay man growing up in Glasgow with his mother, who died from alcoholism when he was 16, to write his first novel.
But in a press conference with reporters after the award on Thursday, he described how he came to books relatively late in life.
"My journey through literature was a difficult one," he said.
"As a kid, I didn't grow up in a house with any books, and books were seen as something that were quite dangerous, I think. Having books would expose you as a young, gay boy. They were seen as very feminine.
"I was 16 years old when my mother died and I was struggling to stay in school, living by myself. My teachers just saw this kid that was the first person in his family trying to finish high school, and they turned me towards books.
"That's when everything cracked open for me."
Stuart said he started off reading Thomas Hardy and Tennessee Williams before he later found famous Scottish writers in his 20s, such as Janice Galloway, fellow Scottish winner for the 1994 Booker Prize James Kelman, Agnes Owens and George Friel.
He also said Alan Hollinghurst, who scooped the prize in 2004, and Jeanette Winterson were "really important" to him.
"I think that's why representation is really important in literature. It's important for young, queer, Scottish kids or young, working-class Scottish kids seeing people like themselves on the page," he said.
After Kelman, Stuart is the second Scottish writer to win the award in its 51-year history.
He is currently working in fashion and living in New York with his husband, Michael Cary. Stuart said he now plans to leave the fashion world to focus on writing as his full-time profession and will use his winnings to fund his career.
Stuart was announced as the winner at a special event at the Roundhouse venue in north London, which was live streamed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The other finalists included: Avni Doshi's "Burnt Sugar"; Maaza Mengiste's "The Shadow King"; "The New Wilderness" by Diane Cook; Tsitsi Dangarembga's "This Mournable Body"; and "Real Life" by Brandon Taylor.
Each entrant was a debut novel.
Special guests at the event included President Barack Obama and Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, who said in a prerecorded message that this year's Booker Prize is "even more important" than usual due to the pandemic.
She said: "While Covid deprived us of so many cultural pleasures ? live music, theatre, cinema, art galleries, even being together in the flesh this evening ? we have, at least, been able to read.
"As long as we can read, we can travel, we can escape, we can explore, we can laugh, we can cry and we can grapple with life's mysteries.
"For all these reasons, this year's Booker Prize is even more important than usual."
Obama said: "I've always turned to writing to make sense of our world . and at their best Booker Prize-listed books remind me of fiction's power to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, understand their struggles, and imagine new ways to tackle complex problems and effect change."