Marlon James Wins the
Booker Prize

[Note: we’ve made several additions to this story since we first posted it last night]

In the second year that American writers were eligible for the Booker, two made the shortlist, but ultimately did not win. The winner, however, lives in the U.S. and his books were originally published by U.S. publishing houses.

The9781594486005_04fae winner is the first Jamaican writer to win the award, Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings (Penguin/Riverhead; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample, 2014; released in trade paperback, Sept. 8, 2015). He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul.

In his remarks, James said he was shaped by reading previous Booker winners and noted that ten years ago he nearly gave up on writing, thanking Johnny Temple at independent publisher Akashic Books in Brooklyn for publishing his debut, John Crow’s Devil, (9781936070107). He also thanked his editors at the Riverhead imprint of Penguin U.S. (see him give his acceptance speech here — the second video).

A Brief History of Seven Killings, published last year in the US, appeared on many of the year’s best books lists and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

James is scheduled to appear on Monday at Minneapolis bookstore Magers & Quinn. He is also scheduled for appearances at Hennepin County Public Library at the end of the month.

In March, he was interviewed on Late Night with  Seth Meyers:

Reviews — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street JournalNYT Sunday Book Review.

The Guardian calls the winning novel “an epic, uncompromising novel not for the faint of heart. It brims with shocking gang violence, swearing, graphic sex, drug crime but also, said the judges, a lot of laughs.”

UPDATE: The Booker Bump strikes again. By Wed. morning, Oct. 14, A Brief History of Seven Killings rose to #20 on Amazon sales rankings in paperback and #137 in hardcover.

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