Marlon James

Marlon James, photo by Jeffrey Skemp
Marlon James, photo by Jeffrey Skemp

Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. His most recent novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize, making James the first Jamaican author to take home the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary award. The novel also won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a New York Times Notable Book.

James is also the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice.

His forthcoming fantasy trilogy, the Dark Star sequence, will draw on the rich heritage of African legend and language in the same way J.R.R. Tolkien drew on Celtic and Norse mythology to create The Lord of the Rings. The first book in the series, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is set to appear in spring 2019.

James graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in language and literature and from Wilkes University in 2006 with a master’s degree in creative writing. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared widely, including in Esquire, Granta, and the Caribbean Review of Books. He lives in Minneapolis and teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College.


selected bibliography

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014)
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
The Book of Night Women (2009)
John Crow's Devil by Marlon James

John Crow’s Devil (2005)

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online resources

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro interview with James at the 2018 Key West Literary Seminar, The New York Review of Books, March 1, 2018
James Announces Dark Star Fantasy Trilogy, Entertainment Weekly, January 10, 2017
“How Rebel Novelist Escaped Jamaica to Win Top Literary Prize,” Rolling Stone, January 6, 2016
“From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself,” The New York Times Magazine, March 10, 2015

Video: Tim O’Brien and Marlon James in Conversation