TALKING BOOKS

Jamaican Writer Marlon James Among Six Finalists For Booker Prize

A brief history of seven killingsJAMAICAN writer Marlon James’ book, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is one of six finalists for the £50,000 (US$77,000) Booker Prize for fiction in the United Kingdom.

The nominations were announced recently in London.

The books and their publishers are:

Marlon James (Jamaica) A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)

Tom McCarthy (United Kingdom) Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)

Sunjeev Sahota (UK) The Year of the Runaways (Picador)

Anne Tyler (United States) A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)

Hanya Yanagihara (US) A Little Life (Picador)

According to Michael Wood, chair of the five-member panel who will decide the winner, “Only on rare occasions does celebration come so closely aligned with regret. The regret of what we left out was tempered by the enormous excitement we have in presenting the six books on the shortlist.

We re-read all 13 books on the long list and in the process we re-discovered new pleasures in each. The writers on the shortlist present an extraordinary range of approaches to fiction. They come from very different cultures and are themselves at very different stages of their careers.”

This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of different nationalities, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

A Brief History of Seven Killings is inspired by the December 1976 assassination attempt on reggae star Bob Marley at his Hope Road, St. Andrew home.

Born in Kingston, 45-year-old James is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and Wilkes University in the United States. His previous books are The Book of Night Women and John Crow’s Devil.

James is the first Jamaican finalist for the prestigious prize.

Rights to A Brief History of Seven Killings have been purchased by cable giant HBO for a potential series.

The winner will be announced on October 13.

Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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