Marlon James Makes History As First Jamaican to Win The Booker Prize Award

14 Oct

History was made on Tuesday when Jamaican native, Marlon James was titled the winner of Booker Prize and being the first Jamaican to do so in it’s 47 years history.

His exuberant, vivid  novel that is brimmed with shocking expletives, gang crime and drug abuse and soothed with lots of laughter is a fictional history of the attempted murder of music’s icon, Bob Marley; “A Brief History of Seven Killings”.

James was awarded the 50,000 pound ($77,000) prize during a black-tie dinner at London’s medieval Guildhall.Accepting the award from Camilla, the Duchess of Cambridge, James said: “I just met Ben Okri [who won for The Famished Road in 1991] and it just reminded me of how much of my literary sensibilities were shaped by the Man Booker prize … it suddenly increases your library by 13 books.”

The 44-year-old author said he almost gave up writing more than a decade ago when his first novel, “John Crow’s Devil,” was rejected by 70 publishers. He said winning the Booker Prize was “surreal,” and joked that he would spend the prize money on a tailor-made suit or “every William Faulkner novel in hardcover.”

He dedicated his win to his late father with who, he recalled, he used to have Shakespeare duels with as a boy. “Who can have the longest soliloquy … just imagine a father and son in a Jamaican rum bar.”

James said he hoped his win would bring more attention to Caribbean writing but he admitted he had to leave Jamaica to write the book, it was “a novel of exile … I needed that distance, I needed that sense of maybe there wouldn’t be consequences.” He said it was the riskiest novel he had written, in terms of subject and form and it was “affirming” winning the prize. “I would have been happy with two people liking it.”



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