Jamaican writer Marlon James wins Man Booker Prize 2015

Jamaican author Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

14 October 2015, 9:21am
Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings
Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings
Jamaican author Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

The novel was inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s, and it was described as “the most exciting" book on the shortlist by chair of the judges Michael Wood.

“It’s very exciting, very violent, full of swearing. It was a book we didn’t actually have any difficulty deciding on – it was a unanimous decision, a little bit to our surprise,” Wood said.

The novel has many fans and it has enjoyed the support of many critics with web editor at Foyles bookshops, Jonathan Ruppin calling it “an ingeniously structured feat of storytelling,” among others.

James was announced the £50,000 winner on Tuesday night at London's Guildhall and international media report that he is the first Jamaican author to win the prestigious award.

Receiving the award, he said a huge part of the novel had been inspired by reggae music.

"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."

The 44-year-old author was presented with his prize by the Duchess of Cornwall and admitted it was "so surreal" to win. He dedicated the award to his late father who he said, had shaped his "literary sensibilities".

The novel uses the true story of the attempt on the life of reggae star Marley to explore the turbulent world of Jamaican gangs and politics.

Other books on the shortlist  were; Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island,  Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen, Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways, Anne Tyler ‘s A Spool of Blue Thread and  Hanya Yanagihara’sS), A Little Life

This year marks the second year the prize has been open to all authors writing in English, regardless of nationality, after Australian author Richard Flanagan won last year's prize for his wartime novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

James, currently lives in Minneapolis, US, can expect a dramatic boost in sales following his win. After A Brief History of Seven Killings was named on the Booker shortlist last month sales tripled to more than 1,000 copies a week, according to Nielsen Book Research.