The Free-For-All would like to congratulate Marlon James on winning the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings!
This is only the second year the award is open to all English-writing authors, and, as a result, James is the first Jamaican writer to win the £50,000 award. He is also the first author ever whose prize-winning book was published by an independent publisher (Oneworld).
In describing the book, which was inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970’s, and the long-reaching consequences of that event, Man Booker Prize chairman Michael Wood called James’ work “startling in its range of voices and registers, running from the patois of the street posse to The Book of Revelation. It is a representation of political times ad places, from the CIA intervention in Jamaica to the early years of crack gangs in New York and Miami.
“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 judges were unanimous in their decision, Wood continued: “We started, as we have done for the whole year, talking about all the books,” said Wood. “As we talked certain books sounded further away than other books. At a certain point it dawned on us this was the book.”
Diedre Mills, Jamaican Deputy High Commissioner has also released a statement about James’ success: “We are very proud but not too surprised. Jamaicans excel at whatever they do.”
This BBC article has video of the prize announcement, in which the selected book is carried onto the stage swathed in a white cloth and dramatically revealed, James’ joyful reaction, and his acceptance speech.
*For those who have already read the book, and/or for those who prefer some ambiance to your reading, James has also released a playlist to accompany his book, which you can find here, complete with audio recordings.