Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize 2015 for fiction for 'A Brief History of Seven Killings', published by Oneworld Publishing, distributed by Pan Macmillan India.
The 44-year-old, now a resident of Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in its 47-year history.
Jamaican author Marlon James addresses the audience after being awarded the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction award at the Guildhall in central London on October 13, 2015. Pic/AFP
Marlon James was announced as the 2015 winner by Michael Wood, Chair of Judges, at the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, on 13 October 2015. James was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man Group.
In addition to his £50,000 prize and trophy, James also received a designer-bound edition of his book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.
A Brief History of Seven Killings is a 704-page epic with over 75 characters and voices. Set in Kingston, where James was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. Of the book, the New York Times said, "It’s like a Tarantino remake of 'The Harder They Come', but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner ... epic in every sense of that word - sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex."
Referring to Bob Marley only as ‘The Singer’ throughout, 'A Brief History of Seven Killings' retells this near mythic assassination attempt through myriad voices – from witnesses and FBI and CIA agents to killers, ghosts, beauty queens and Keith Richards’ drug dealer – to create a rich, polyphonic study of violence, politics and the musical legacy of Kingston of the 1970s. James has credited Charles Dickens as one of his formative influences, saying "I still consider myself a Dickensian in as much as there are aspects of storytelling I still believe in—plot, surprise, cliffhangers".
This is the first Man Booker Prize winner for independent publisher, Oneworld Publications which is distributed in the Indian subcontinent by Pan Macmillan India.
Michael Wood, Chair of Judges, comments, "This book is 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 and 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."
Michael Wood, author and academic, was joined on the 2015 panel of judges by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (independent critic, broadcaster and editor), John Burnside, (novelist, short story writer and poet) Sam Leith (Literary Editor of The Spectator) and author Frances Osborne.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajdeep Mukherjee, Sr. Vice President, said, "Congratulations to Marlon James and to Oneworld! Pan Macmillan India is proud to represent the outstanding Oneworld list and bring literature of the finest range from across the globe to readers in South Asia."
The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015 was chosen from 156 entries. This year’s shortlist also included two titles from ‘Picador’, Pan Macmillan’s award-winning literary fiction imprint.
– Sunjeev Sahota, author of 'The Year of the Runaways' [Picador India]
– Hanya Yanagihara, author of 'A Little Life' [Picador UK]