Marlon James Wins 2015 Man Booker Prize; NBA Finalists Announced

October 14, 2015

Marlon James

A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James’s novel of an assassination attempt on Bob Marley, and much more, has won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. James is the first Jamaican author to win the prize (this is only the second year writers outside of the United Kingdome and the Commonwealth are eligible). The award comes with a £50,000 honorarium, a trophy, and a designer-bound edition of the book.

Judge Michael Wood said of the novel, “It is a crime novel that moves beyond the world of crime and takes us deep into a recent history we know far too little about. It moves at a terrific pace and will come to be seen as a classic of our times.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that at the award ceremony “James began his speech with a nod to the Man Booker. ‘It just hit me how much of my literary sensibility was shaped by the Man Booker Prize,’ he said. James was born and raised in Jamaica reading the British literature of the country’s colonial past; the Man Booker was something different. ‘My great turning point as a writer was when a friend of mine handed me Salman Rushdie’s Shame.’”

James said to the New York Times, “I love my country to death but I also remember how much of our history is paid for in blood. Were I in Jamaica, I would not have written this novel.”

“There’s this whole universe of really spunky creativity that’s happening,” he continued. “I hope it brings more attention to what’s coming out of Jamaica and the Caribbean.”

Photo credit: Janie Airey


In related news, the National Book Foundation announced its shortlist for the National Book Awards.

Fiction: Karen E. Bender, Refund; Angela Flournoy, The Turner House; Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies; Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles; Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Nonfiction: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me; Sally Mann, Hold Still; Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus; Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran; Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light

Poetry: Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude; Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn; Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus; Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things; Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine

Young People's Literature: Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish; Laura Ruby, Bone Gap; Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War; Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep; Noelle Stevenson, Nimona

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