Jamaican author Marlon James has won this year’s Man Booker Prize For Fiction for a novel inspired by Bob Marley.
A Brief History of Seven Killings is a fictionalised account of an attempted assassination of the reggae musician in the 1970s.
The novel has been described as the “most exciting” book on the shortlist, with Michael Wood, chair of the judges, describing it as “full of surprises” as well as “full of swearing”.
The announcement was made on Tuesday night (October 13) at London’s Guildhall, with James becoming the first Jamaican author to pick up the £50,000 prize.
Accepting the award, James said he hoped his victory would bring “more attention to what’s coming out of Jamaica and the Caribbean, because I think there are some brand-new voices coming out who are exploring contemporary society, who are exploring what’s beyond politics, what’s beyond colonialism.”
The author also said of his inspiration: “The reggae singers Bob Marley and Peter Tosh were the first to recognise that the voice coming out our mouths was a legitimate voice for fiction and poetry.”
James beat fellow nominees Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara to the award.