Marlon James Wins 2015 Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings

A brief history of seven killings

Jamaican novelist Marlon James has just won the prestigious Man Booker prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. He is the first Jamaican novelist to be shortlisted and to win. The chair of judges, Michael Wood, called it the “most exciting” short listed book and noted the plethora of voices that “went from Jamaican slang to Biblical heights.” Wood went on to say that “a lot of it is very, very funny, a lot of it very human” and that while “it is not an easy read, it is a big book with some tough stuff and a lot of swearing but it is not a difficult book to approach.”

This was the second year the award was open to all English-language novels. Previously, only writers from the British commonwealth, Ireland, or Zimbabwe were eligible. It took the judges only two hours to come to a unanimous decision. The award comes with a £50,000 purse, and normally a significant boost in sales. James is 44 years old and lives in Minneapolis.

After winning the award, Marlon James said, “Ten years ago I’d given up on writing. I had a novel that had been rejected 70 times.” Luckily for readers everywhere, he did not give up. Congrats to Marlon James!

The full shortlist was composed of:

  • Marlon James (Jamaica), A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • Tom McCarthy (UK), Satin Island
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), The Fishermen
  • Sunjeev Sahota (UK), The Year of the Runaways
  • Anne Tyler (US), A Spool of Blue Thread
  • Hanya Yanagihara (US), A Little Life
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