Marlon Janes was on the cover of Issue #17 (Q1 2007) of Mosaic Literary Magazine
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in literature. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. James lives in Kingston.
“When not solving the problem of world hunger or seducing the planet's most beautiful women I'm in a dark, remote corner somewhere with book, reading or writing the damn thing. My poet friend says she has a greater need to write than to live and I think I understand. Sure it's pretentious but I think a writer does write in order to search for meaning or at least to make some sense out of life. I know I do. I believe that people are essentially good but evil is always within us. I believe in God but lock my doors. I believe in freedom but put responsibility first. I have one dog, no guns, too many books and not nearly enough friends to share good wine with.” —Marlon James
Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel
Click to order via Amazon
Hardcover: 704 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; 1 edition (October 2, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
Selected as one of the Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014
From the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes one of the year’s most anticipated novels, a lyrical, masterfully written epic that explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s.
On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years.
Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters—assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts—A Brief History of Seven Killings is the fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time and its bloody aftermath, from the streets and slums of Kingston in the ‘70s, to the crack wars in ‘80s New York, to a radically altered Jamaica in the ‘90s. Brilliantly inventive and stunningly ambitious, this novel is a revealing modern epic that will secure Marlon James’ place among the great literary talents of his generation.
Marlon James reads from "A Brief History of Seven Killings" at
Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
Book of Night Women
Click to order via Amazon
by Marlon James
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (February 19, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.7 inches
The Book of Night Women is a sweeping, startling novel, a true tour de
force of both voice and storytelling. It is the story of Lilith, born into
slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century.
Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that
they—and she—will come to both revere and fear.
The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans. But when she begins to understand her own feelings and desires and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman in Jamaica, and risks becoming the conspiracy’s weak link.
Lilith’s story overflows with high drama and heartbreak, and life on the plantation is rife with dangerous secrets, unspoken jealousies, inhuman violence, and very human emotion—between slave and master, between slave and overseer, and among the slaves themselves. Lilith finds herself at the heart of it all. And all of it told in one of the boldest literary voices to grace the page recently—and the secret of that voice is one of the book’s most intriguing mysteries.
Click to Order via Amazon
Hardcover: 226 pages
Publisher: Akashic Books (September 1, 2005)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
This stunning debut novel tells the story of a biblical struggle in a remote Jamaican village in 1957. With language as taut as classic works by Cormac McCarthy, and a richness reminiscent of early Toni Morrison, Marlon James reveals his unique narrative command that will firmly establish his place as one of today's freshest, most talented young writers.
In the village of Gibbeah--where certain women fly and certain men protect secrets with their lives--magic coexists with religion, and good and evil are never as they seem. In this town, a battle is fought between two men of God. The story begins when a drunkard named Hector Bligh (the "Rum Preacher") is dragged from his pulpit by a man calling himself "Apostle" York. Handsome and brash, York demands a fire-and-brimstone church, but sets in motion a phenomenal and deadly struggle for the soul of Gibbeah itself. John Crow's Devil is a novel about religious mania, redemption, sexual obsession, and the eternal struggle inside all of us between the righteous and the wicked.
James is included in the following anthology:
Click to Order via Amazon
Edited by Colin Channer
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Akashic Books (May 29, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
From Trench Town to Half Way Tree to Norbrook to Portmore and beyond, the stories of Kingston Noir shine light into the darkest corners of this fabled city. Joining award-winning Jamaican authors such as Marlon James, Leone Ross, and Thomas Glave are two "special guest" writers with no Jamaican lineage: Nigerian-born Chris Abani and British writer Ian Thomson. The menacing tone that runs through some of these stories is counterbalanced by the clever humor in others, such as Kei Miller's “White Gyal with a Camera,” who softens even the hardest of August Town’s gangsters; and Mr. Brown, the private investigator in Kwame Dawes’s story, who explains why his girth works to his advantage: "In Jamaica a woman like a big man. She can see he is prosperous, and that he can be in charge." Together, the outstanding tales in Kingston Noir comprise the best volume of short fiction ever to arise from the literary wellspring that is Jamaica.