Marlon James (novelist)

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Marlon James
Marlon james 2014.jpg
Marlon James at the 2014 Texas Book Festival
Born (1970-11-24) 24 November 1970 (age 51)
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Jamaican
Alma mater University of the West Indies, Wilkes University
Period 2002–present
Notable works A Brief History of Seven Killings

Marlon James (born 24 November 1970)[1] is a Jamaican writer. He has published three novels: John Crow's Devil (2005), The Book of Night Women (2009), and A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Now living in Minneapolis, James teaches literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.[2][3]

Early life

James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who were both in the Jamaican police: his mother (who gave him his first prose book, a collection of stories by O. Henry) became a detective and his father (from whom James took a love of Shakespeare and Coleridge) a lawyer.[4][5] James is a 1991 graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he read Language and Literature. He received a master's degree in creative writing from Wilkes University (2006).[6]


James has taught English and creative writing at Macalester College since 2007.[7][8] His first novel, John Crow's Devil – which was rejected 70 times before being accepted for publication[9] – tells the story of a biblical struggle in a remote Jamaican village in 1957.[10] His second novel, The Book of Night Women, is about a slave woman's revolt in a Jamaican plantation in the early 19th century.[11] His most recent novel, 2014's A Brief History of Seven Killings, explores several decades of Jamaican history and political instability through the perspectives of many narrators. It won the fiction category of the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature[12] and the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, having been the first book by a Jamaican author ever to be shortlisted.[13][14] He is the second Caribbean winner of the prize, following Trinidad-born V. S. Naipaul who won in 1971.[15] James has indicated his next work will be a fantasy novel, titled Black Leopard, Red Wolf.[16] It will be the first in a series.


Awards and recognition


  1. "Man Booker Prize for Fiction Winner: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James",, 14 October 2015.
  2. Marlon James, "From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself", The New York Times, 10 March 2015.
  3. Kimberley Richards, "Marlon James Becomes First Jamaican Winner Of Booker Prize", Huffington Post – Arts & Culture, 14 October 2015.
  4. Arifa Akbar, "Marlon James: 'I don’t believe in PG violence’", The Independent, 14 October 2015.
  5. Chris Harvey, "Marlon James interview: 'I didn’t want to fall into a pornography of violence'", The Telegraph, 13 October 2015.
  6. Marlon James: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle.
  7. quote: A professor of literature and creative writing at Macalester College, he divides his time among Minnesota, New York, and Jamaica.
  8. "Marlon James, Assistant Professor English", Macalester College.
  9. "Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James 'in exile' from Jamaica", Channel 4 News, 14 October 2015.
  10. John Crow's Devil: Marlon James. Books
  11. Troy Reed, "The Book of Night Women" (review), HNR Issue 48 (May 2009). Historical Novel Society.
  12. "Top three books named for 2015 OCM Bocas Prize", NGC Bocas Lit Fest website, 31 March 2015
  13. "The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015 shortlist is revealed", The Man Booker Prize website, 15 September 2015.
  14. "Jamaican writer makes history", News Americas, 15 September 2015.
  15. "OCM Bocas Prize winner gets world’s biggest literary award", Daily Express (Trinidad), 14 October 2015.
  16. Liptak, Andrew (12 December 2015). "Marlon James's Next Book Will Be 'African Game of Thrones'". io9. Retrieved 13 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. ArtsBeat, "National Book Critics Circle Finalists Are Announced", The New York Times, 23 January 2010.
  18. Dayton Literary Peace Prize - Press Release Announcing 2010 Winners.
  19. "Minnesota Book Awards, Past Finalists and Winners by Year"
  20. "Eight Outstanding Jamaicans Awarded Musgrave Medals". Jamaica Information Service. Retrieved 5 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists for Publishing Year 2014". Critical Mass (NBCC blog). 19 January 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. "Winners by Year"
  23. "Top three books named for 2015 OCM Bocas Prize", NGC Bocas Lit Fest website, 31 March 2015.
  24. "The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015 shortlist is revealed", The Man Booker Prize website, 15 September 2015.
  25. Tim Masters, "Man Booker Prize 2015: Marlon James wins for A Brief History of Seven Killings", BBC News, 13 October 2015.
  26. Mark Brown, "Marlon James wins the Man Booker prize 2015", The Guardian, 13 October 2015.
  27. Anita Singh, "Booker Prize 2015 winner Marlon James: 'I almost gave up'", The Telegraph, 14 October 2015.
  28. Natasha Onwuemezi, "Marlon James wins Green Carnation Prize", The Bookseller, 9 December 2015.

Further reading

External links