First Jamaican-Born Writer Wins Man Booker
October 14, 2015 7:56 AM   Subscribe

For the first time, a Jamaican writer has won the Man Booker Prize for the best original novel written in English. Marlon James' 680-page A Brief History of Seven Killings is a fictional oral history of three decades of Jamaican life, using the real-life attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976 as its jumping-off point.

Seven Killings had previously won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award ("the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity") and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the U.S. National Book Critic Circle Award. HBO has optioned the television rights.
posted by Etrigan (14 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I started reading this because of the Man Booker nomination (or more specifically GoingToMaine's post on Metafilter about the nominations) but had to return it to the library before finishing it because life got in the way of reading and there was a hold on it preventing renewal. But I think the first third of it is very fucking good and if the Chicago Public Library doesn't cycle through the hold list to be before I've caught up on my other reading, I'm probably just going to go ahead and buy it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:19 AM on October 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

This was on my "to-read" list. It has just been bumped to the top.
posted by chatongriffes at 8:39 AM on October 14, 2015

Interesting stuff, thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 8:41 AM on October 14, 2015

This book is SO good. That is all.
posted by Aubergine at 8:42 AM on October 14, 2015

Thanks to the recommendations by several Mefites in that thread, I read this a few months ago. It IS fantastic.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:57 AM on October 14, 2015

I went to Macalester, where James teaches. It seems like the school actually went way out on a limb in hiring him (they don't have much of a creative writing program, and the other English professors are generally from a traditional academic background), so props to them.
posted by miyabo at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2015 [6 favorites]

(fuck yeah small midwestern liberal arts college with small creative writing programs)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:03 AM on October 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

What am I thinking. It was this thread.

It was Dip Flash's comments that really sold me. Thanks, Dip Flash!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:03 AM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

So thrilled about this win. A Brief History of Seven Killings is probably one the of the most difficult books I've read, but it was also so searingly good of a read.

After reading the book, I read and then thought a lot about this interview with James in Guernica, especially the parts discussing explicit violence and explicit sex, and then about the about the value of close point-of-view / narrow perspective. I thought James did an excellent job with a large cast of characters, and the thoughtful, intricate, technical work that went into it is really something.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 9:16 AM on October 14, 2015

It is a fantastic book and he absolutely deserves the prize. I was so pleased to read this news.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:13 AM on October 14, 2015

This morning Minnesota Public Radio reran a 2014 interview with James, recorded shortly after A Brief History of Seven Killings was released. You can listen to the whole interview here.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:31 PM on October 14, 2015

I went to Macalester too and was pretty surprised by this because it's a tiny school not especially known for its creative writing program. Now I'm really excited to read it!
posted by lunasol at 4:23 PM on October 14, 2015

Another Macalalyte reporting! I was on campus (class of '09) when Marlon first came in board, and we all admired his Motörhead satchel.

After I graduated I think he took up cross-country skiing. He got pretty shredded, anyway.

Anyway props to him for racking up another way to be cooler than I'll ever be.

And, heh, why am I not surprised to see a relatively strong Macalester/Metafilter intersection?
posted by seinwave at 6:02 PM on October 14, 2015

As a fellow Mac grad, the news also made me feel pride.
posted by koucha at 6:43 AM on October 15, 2015

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