Marlon James became the first Jamaican person to win the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday the 15th.
The author won the prize for his creation of the book ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’. The 680 page epic book may be titled a ‘brief history’ but it is anything but, it has been described as ‘full of surprises’ as well as being full of violence and blasphemy.
The Jamaican poet Kei Miller has praised the novel’s ambition, he added, “It explores the aesthetics of cacophony and also the aesthetics of violence”.
Set across three decades, James’ novel utilises the true story of the attempt on Bob Marley’s life in order to further explore the turbulent underworld of Jamaica’s political system and gang culture. The Jamaican author was announced the winner of the £50,000 prize and he has remarked that a huge part of his novel had been inspired by reggae music.
Marlon James said that it was “so surreal” to claim the award as he dedicated the award to his late father who “shaped his literary sensibilities”. James stated that he hopes his achievements will give added recognition to Caribbean writers. The victor beat five other nominees including American author and favourite for the award, Hanya Yanagihara.
Marlon James also became the first gay man to receive the award since Alan Hollinghurst in 2004. Earlier this year James wrote a frank essay in which he discussed the hardship of growing up as a gay man in Jamaica. In the essay he explained how difficult it was to interact with people in his hometown whilst implying that he was liberated to create his works when he was finally accepted upon moving to Minnesota, USA.
In an interview James stated “You might want to walk down the street and hold somebody’s hand one day. When you grow up in a homophobic country, you’re sitting on a timebomb”.
TNT News Billy Rooney