HBO buys the rights to Macalester professor's award-winning book


A Macalester College English professor's novel has captivated readers around the world, wracked up accolades and now could be HBO's newest project.

The cable network recently bought the rights to Marlon James' novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings" – the historical fiction book is inspired by the real-life attempted assassination on music legend Bob Marley in 1976, and also looks at life in Jamaica over three decades, The Bookseller reported.

The summary reads like an HBO plot promising one-night stands, CIA agents, drug lords, slum life and ghosts.

James is doing his own adaptation of the book with the help of screenwriter Eric Roth, whose resume boasts an Academy Award for "Forest Gump," the Star Tribune reported.

James told the newspaper he was "excited and shocked" that HBO was interested in the story, noting a lot of the project is still "up in the air."

No release date has been set, Ainsfeld-Wolf said.

The critically acclaimed book is bringing in awards and honors for James. Last month he won the Anisfield-Wolf fiction prize and was a Minnesota Book Award winner. His novel made the "best" read list in 2014 for a number of national news organizations.

He appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to discuss the book:

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James teaches creative writing, fiction, literature, criticism and blogs in the English department at Macalester College in St. Paul. He's taking a sabbatical in the 2015-16 school year, his bio on the school's website says.

He is from Jamaica and has worked at Macalester since 2007, the school notes.

James has won several awards for his other books, including the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award for "The Book of Night Women," Penguin Random House says. His first novel, "John Crow's Devil" was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction.

Samuel Jackson's production company has renewed its option for "The Book of Night Women," according to the Star Tribune.

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