Skip to main content

St. Paul professor's novel is up for prestigious UK literary prize

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A professor at Macalester College in St. Paul has created history by being in the running for a prestigious literary prize in the United Kingdom.

Marlon James, who joined the college's English department in 2007, has become the first Jamaican author to make the longlist for the Man Booker Prize, gaining recognition for his third novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings," The Guardian reports.

His book tells the story of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley amid the violent backdrop of Jamaica in the 1970s and '80s.

The New York Times described it as: "Epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting — a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent."

An associate professor in English, James has won multiple awards since releasing his first novel "John Crow's Devil" in 2005.

He followed up his debut with "The Book of Night Women" in 2010, which won The Minnesota Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the 2010 National Books Circle Award in fiction, according to his Macalester College bio.

James also won the Novel and Short Story prize at the 2015 Minnesota Book Awards for "A Brief History of Seven Killings."

What is the Man Booker Prize?

The Man Booker Prize is one of the UK's most celebrated literary awards, having launched in 1969 initially to reward the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom, according to its website.

It was then expanded to allow entries written in English from British Commonwealth countries (such as Australia and Canada), before it was expanded again last year to allow English language novels from any country provided it's been published in the UK.

The winner of the prize gets a $75,000 check, with every shortlisted author winning $3,750. The longlist of 13 novels will be whittled down to a shortlist of six that will be announced Sept. 15, with the winner named at a gala in London on Oct. 13.

The winner is chosen by a panel of judges that includes critics, writers, academics, poets, politicians and actors who have a "passion for quality fiction."

Previous winners of the prize include Salman Rushdie, Iris Murdoch and William Golding.

Next Up

Marcus Foligno

Foligno's OT winner gives Wild fans a happy Hockey Day

A slow start gave way to the Wild's fifth win in the past six games.

snow

Winter weather advisory issued as Saturday snow arrives

Not huge totals expected, but any snow will likely impact travel.

Wilf

Report: Ryan Poles is Vikings' 'top choice' for general manager

Poles was one of two finalists revealed on Friday.

Payton Willis

Willis carries shorthanded Gophers to beat Rutgers

The senior scored a career-high 32 points to end a four-game losing streak.

MARCUS ALEXANDER STEICHEN

Charges: St. Paul man had sexual contact 'multiple times' with 12-year-old girl

Marcus Steichen, 21, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Charges: Mom killed infant son just weeks after getting him back from foster care

The 10-month-old died in her care in Brooklyn Park last April.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Arrests made following fentanyl bust in St. Cloud

Authorities searched two St. Cloud apartments Friday morning.

potatoes 2

Minnesota's 'frozen potato freeway' closure attracts plenty of comment

It was, let's face it, a very Minnesotan reason for a freeway closure.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 9.07.54 AM

U of M fraternity raises money for chef's knee surgery

The GoFundMe has raised around $1,700 of its $5,000 goal.

unsplash restaurant cashier register COVID face mask - crop

7 restaurant, bar groups sue Minneapolis over dining vaccine mandate

"Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns..." the lawsuit said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 7.47.53 AM

Woman fatally shot in St. Paul's North End neighborhood

It's the fourth homicide so far this year in St. Paul.

Wild

Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Related

A MN writer's first novel is up for a big literary prize

Emily Fridlund's book is set in the north woods

MN author's first book nominated for prestigious literary prize

She's "certain to have a very bright literary future ahead of her."