Books

Marlon James named 2015 Man Booker Prize winner

Marlon James has won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his book, A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Marlon James became the first Jamaican winner of the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction Tuesday. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

The winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize has been revealed. Marlon James has taken the prize for his novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings.

James was one of six authors from around the globe vying for the prestigious 2015 prize. He is the first Jamaican-born writer to win the prize in its 47-year history.

"I was so convinced I wasn't going to win, I didn't write a speech," said James when he took the stage to accept the award.

"The Man Booker Prize is that award you hear about that suddenly increases your library by 13 books...It's so surreal. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up or fall into a whole barrage of tears."

James' novel is a fictional history of a 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley.

James currently lives in Minneapolis and has two other novels under his belt: The Book of Night Women and John Crow's Devil.

For the second consecutive year, the prize — which is worth 50,000 British pounds or just under $100,000 in Canadian dollars — has considered writers of any nationality, writing originally in English (and published in the UK). Before 2014, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The shortlisted novels for 2015 were:

  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
  • Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
  • The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
  • The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

​Marlon James is the first Jamaican author to be shortlisted for the prize. Chigozie Obioma is 28 years old - the same age as the prize's youngest-ever winner, Canadian-born Eleanor Catton, when she won in 2013 for The Luminaries. Other past Canadian winners include Michael Ondaatje in 1992 for The English Patient, Margaret Atwood in 2000 for The Blind Assassin and Yann Martel in 2002 for Life of Pi.

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