Jamaican writer Marlon James has been named the winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. In the history of Booker, it is the first time that a Jamaican has won it. It is also the first for the publisher of his book Oneworld Publications.
Mr. James’s book was chosen from a shortlist of seven writers, who included the bookies favourite Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life, and the British writer of Indian origin Sunjeev Sahota for The Year of the Runaways.
Set in Jamaica, the 686-page book is a fiction on the attempted murder of the reggae singer, Bob Marley, in 1976. Mr. James described his feelings as “surreal” in his acceptance speech. He dedicated his award to his late father saying that it was from him that he had acquired his “literary sensitivities.”
Acknowledging the other books in the shortlist as “outrageous, dark and beautiful,” he said that writers ultimately “try to make sense of the world we are in.”
The jury, Michael Wood described the book as “startling in its range of voices and registers, running from the patois of the street posse to The Book of Revelation.”
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, Mr. Wood said.
Along with his £50,000 prize and trophy, which he received from the Duchess of Cornwall, Mr. James also received a designer bound edition of his book and a further £2,500 for being short-listed.
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