Jamaican author Marlon James has been nominated for the highly coveted award, the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction. James was included on the long-list for the award for his novel “Black Leopard, Red Wolf/” The book is the first in a planned trilogy. James received the prestigious Booker Prize in 2014 for “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which focused on the attempted 1976 assassination of reggae great Bob Marley.
James’s’ book “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” has been called “an African ‘Game of Throne’ and uses African mythology and history to explore the political tensions of warring kingdoms and city-states in a fictional landscape. Film rights to the book were acquired by Michael B. Jordan in 2019 prior to the book’s release.
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. Both his father and his mother were in the Jamaican police. His mother became a detective, while his father ultimately became a lawyer. He attended Wolmer’s Trust High School for Boys and graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991/ He left Jamaica for the United States to pursue career interests and to escape the island’s economic problems and social violence. He received a master’s degree in creative writing from Wilkes University.
The long-list of other nominees for the award in fiction include
Taffy Brodesser-Akner, “Fleishman Is in Trouble”; Susan Choi, “Trust Exercise”; Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “Sabrina & Corina: Stories”; Laila Lalami, “The Other Americans”; Kimberly King Parsons, “Black Light: Stories”; Helen Phillips, “The Need”; Julia Phillips, “Disappearing Earth”; Ocean Vuong, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”; and Colson Whitehead, “The Nickel Boys”.
The judges’ panel for 2019 includes Dorothy Allison, the author of “Bastard out of Carolina,”; Ruth Dickey, the executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures; Javier Ramirez, a longtime Chicago indie-book seller and the co-owner of Madison Street Books; Danzy Senna, a recipient of the Whiting Award and the author, most recently, of “New People,” a New York Times Notable Book; and Jeff VanderMeer, the best-selling author of the Southern Reach Trilogy, whose work has been translated into thirty-eight languages.
The National Book Awards are given in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, translation, poetry and young people’s literature. On October 8, the lists of nominees in each category will be shortened to five finalists, with award winners announced live on November 20, 2019, at a ceremony in New York City.
Photo source: Marlon James Facebook