Marlon James

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Marlon James, born 24 November 1970, is a Jamaican author. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014) won the 2015 Man Booker Prize.


  • Make no mistake, there’s formula detective fiction, there’s formula science fiction…but there’s formula literary fiction too. It’s genre snobbery that we’re only ready to acclaim stuff that’s of the genre but different in some way. It’s sci-fi but, it’s fantasy but… I didn’t want to write a but.
  • I was trying on being a writer for size…I was trying on writing about things that are close to me for size. Like sexuality. At the time, I wasn’t in any form of gay relationship. It’s funny that I’ve gone from hating pop psychology to being way too Freudian. I can see all my fears and desires in it. Ones I could never give in to because I was deep in the church and I was a super-suppressed gay dude.
  • A lot of it came out of all the research and reading I was doing. African folklore is just so lush. There’s something so relentless and sensual about African mythology. Those stranger elements aren’t about me trying to score edgy post-millennial points. They are old elements. A lot of this book was about taking quite freely from African folklore, specifically from the area below the Sahara Desert. And that’s important to me. Mostly when people think of sophisticated Africa, they think of Egypt. And even that they attribute to aliens.
  • Being a big black man in America, I literally do not know how to conduct myself in a physical space. I don’t know how to meet people without it seeming intimidating. I don’t know if I should wear glasses, if I should try to look extra gay, if I should stand up, sit down, wave my ID, not reach for an ID. I don’t know. I am literally immobilized in the presence of a lot of police power. That is a reality that could cross any form of social class, because it’s racist. And it’s very Caribbean of me to think my class can exclude me from racism. It’s very Caribbean of me to think that if I just dress nicer, if I just wear a suit… It has nothing to do with that, it’s racism…

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (2019)Edit

  • Not everything the eye sees should be spoken by the mouth.
    • Ch. 1

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