Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Jamaican author, James wins Man Booker prize 2015

Jamaican, Marlon James has won Man Booker prize 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s.

Marlon James

 
Michael Wood, chair of the judges, described A Brief History of Seven Killings as the "most exciting" book on the shortlist and "full of surprises" as well as being "very violent" and "full of swearing."

James was announced as the winner of the £50,000 prize in London on Tuesday. And he is the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker Prize. Receiving the award, he said a huge part of the novel had been inspired by reggae music.

Published by Oneworld Publications, the book a 686-page epic with over 75 characters and voices. Set in Kingston, where James was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. Of the book, the New York Times said: ‘It’s like a Tarantino remake of “The Harder They Come”, but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner...epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex.'

Referring to Bob Marley only as ‘The Singer’ throughout, A Brief History of Seven Killings retells this near mythic assassination attempt through the myriad voices – from witnesses and FBI and CIA agents to killers, ghosts, beauty queens and Keith Richards’ drug dealer – to create a rich, polyphonic study of violence, politics and the musical legacy of Kingston of the 1970s. James has credited Charles Dickens as one of his formative influences, saying ‘I still consider myself a Dickensian in as much as there are aspects of storytelling I still believe in—plot, surprise, cliffhangers’ (Interview Magazine).

 Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He is the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, The Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction as well as an NAACP Image Award. His first novel John Crow's Devil was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was a New York Times Editor's Choice. In his third novel, A Brief History Of Seven Killings, James is exploring multiple genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit to confront the untold history of Jamaica in the late 1970's; of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley, and the country's own clandestine battles of the cold war.

James graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language And Literature, and from Wilkes University in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared widely including in Esquire, Granta, and The Caribbean Review of Books.

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