Regrets from the author’s earlier life as drug addict, conman and gambler provide the foundation for this year’s Booker prize-winning novel, Vernon God Little.

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“If there’s a single pressure which drove me to write, it’s regret and that’s like rocket fuel for this kind of art,” the Australian-born author, DBC Pierre says.

Peter Finlay, 42, who goes by the moniker ‘Dirty but Clean’ was born in South Australia, but grew up in Mexico City where he mixed with the low-lifes that inspire the characters in his novel.

Narrated by fifteen year old, Vernon, the novel describes his high school victimisation and conviction of his friend, Jesus for a high school shooting, not unlike the Columbine massacre.

Critics have noted the novel’s satirical tone, where Vernon’s mother and her coven of neighbours, the media and legal officials are targeted.

“Linguistically it’s so inventive, so exhilarating and so exciting, it’s language is so much more fantastically alive than any other book that was put in this year,” chairman of the Booker judging panel, Professor John Carey said.

This is the third time an Australian author has taken out the prestigious literary award. Peter Carey won for The True History of the Kelly Gang, and Tom Kenneally took out the prize for Schindler’s Ark.

Finlay takes home more than $120,000, as well as the bonus of the extra sales and publicity a Booker win gives.

He says the money won’t even touch his pocket and will end up with his creditors. “If they’re not here now, I’m sure they will be in a minute,” he said, saying the prize was worth “a third of what I owe in the world”.

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