Jamaican author James won the 2015 prize for his third novel 'A Brief History of Seven Killings' last night.
In a story that proves you should never give up on your dreams, 2015’s Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James revealed that one of his previous novels ‘John Crow’s Devil’ was turned down by no fewer than 78 publishers.
The 44 year old Jamaican novelist won the £50,000 Man Booker Prize on Tuesday night (October 13th) for his third book ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’, inspired by the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley and with a misleading title, as it runs to 680 pages.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 the morning after his win, James spoke about the difficulties he had in initially getting his career off the ground. He said: “I had to sit down and add it up one day and I had no idea it was that much.”
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presented Marlon James with the Man Booker Prize 2015
The constant rejections did get to him on occasion, he revealed. “There was a time I actually thought I was writing the kind of stories people didn’t want to read,” the writer recalled. “I did give [writing] up. I actually destroyed the manuscript, I even went on my friends computers and erased it.” However, he ended up recovering his work later through an e-mail outbox of an old PC.
In a previous interview with the New York Times, James revealed that he had to flee his homeland because he feared persecution as a gay man. “Whether it was in a plane or a coffin, I knew I had to get out of Jamaica,” he said back in March.
He currently lives in Minnesota in the United States and teaches creative writing. Now, he has become the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker Prize in its 47-year history.
“Jamaica has a really rich literary tradition,” he said after his win. “It is kind of surreal being the first and I really hope I will not be the last. I do not think I will be because there is this real universe of spunky creativity that is happening. For me, first just means the first to get attention. I think there is a lot more that is coming.”