A Brief History of Seven Killings is a fictionalized account of the 1976 assassination attempt on Jamaican reggae superstar Bob Marley. It is the third novel by James, who was born and raised in Jamaica but now works out of St. Paul, Minnesota where he teaches at a Macalester College.
The Man Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969, though it was limited to writers from the English Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe until 2013. It is now open to any novel written in the English language.
James’ victory was announced at a ceremony in London. The author received a £50,000 (about $76,000) cash prize for winning.
James’ road to the Man Booker Prize wasn’t an easy one. According to the Guardian, he nearly gave up writing entirely after his debut novel, John Crow’s Devil, was rejected nearly 80 different times by publishers. In fact, he deleted the original manuscript; when he changed his mind, he managed to extract a draft from an email outbox on an old Mac computer.
Even in the days leading up to the prize announcement, James was seen as an underdog – most observers pegged Hanya Yanagihara as the frontrunner to win the Man Booker.
The prize’s judges, however, had the final say. James’ Man Booker Prize comes via a unanimous decision from the five judges.
–Stephen L., Staff Writer