Gay author Marlon James wins Man Booker Prize 2015
The openly gay Jamaican author has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize.
His novel – A Brief History of Seven Killings – is inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s.
Michael Wood, chair of the judges, declared James’ novel as the “most exciting” book on the literary shortlist.
The 680-page epic is described as “full of surprises”, “very violent” and “full of swearing”.
He admitted it was “so surreal” to win and dedicated the award to his late father who had shaped his “literary sensibilities”.
He is the first gay, Jamaican author to win the award.
Prior to winning the award, James discussed growing up gay in Jamaica and whether he identifies much with the gay character in the novel, Weeper.
“I don’t know if any of me found its way into that,” he told The Telegraph.
“But it was very important to me that there were gay characters in the book – to reflect the gayness and hypocrisy in Jamaica.”
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The author also discussed whether he left the country in order to explore his sexuality.
“Not so much explore,” he said.
“But simple things – you might want to walk down the street and hold somebody’s hand one day.
“When you grow up in a homophobic country, you’re sitting on a timebomb.”
James was announced the £50,000 winner on Tuesday night at London’s Guildhall.
The 44-year-old author was presented with his prize by the Duchess of Cornwall.