Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Marlon James: Gay Man Booker Winner (Geddit?)

Marlon James has become the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker prize, taking the award for 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.

A Brief History of Seven Killings, a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976, was “an extraordinary book”, said Michael Wood, the chair of judges. “[It was] 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.

James, aged 44, who lives in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in the Man Booker’s 47-year history...

The Guardian.

As Marlon wrote in a moving New York Times' essay earlier this year, From Jamica to Minnesota to Myself, being a gay man is far from incidental to his story.

PS This Telegraph interview published this morning briefly touches on his sexuality.

Not sure how much the 'frank descriptions of gay sex and drug-taking' swayed the judges, ackchewlee.

1 comment:

  1. The regular "My Hero" bit in the Grauniad Review today has him selecting Toni Morrison. He says something odd, that he showed one of his earlier drafts to Elizabeth Nunez and she said "you're a good writer but you don't know anything about women", which surprised him as he grew up around women and he asked her what she meant and she replied that she didn't mean knowing women personally but "understanding female literary space".
    I don't understand her objection. If your actual literature should come out of life, then shouldn't knowing women personally be enough? It suggests that writing women as you perceive them in life is worthless and the only way of "writing women" is through some academic lens of literature.

    It really bothers me lately that so much culture seems completely removed from life as it is and more concerned with its own internal workings.