Marlon James’ first novel was rejected by dozens of publishers and agents. His third received the Man Booker Prize.
That’s a steep trajectory for this Jamaican novelist. James has been teaching English and creative writing at Macalester College in Minneapolis since 2007. He is the author of the novels John Crow’s Devil, The Book of Night Women and A Brief History of Seven Killings.
That latest novel was inspired by the attempted assassination in 1976 of reggae star Bob Marley. With more than 75 characters, multiple narrators and a time frame of more than three decades, it is a sprawling story that has earned wide praise.
James joined us for the 2014 Iowa City Book Festival. At the time, A Brief History of Seven Killings had just been published. In the time since, it made many “best of the year” lists at the end of 2014, and he was awarded the Man Booker Prize for the book, making him the first Jamaican author to receive the award.