On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven unnamed gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but rumors abounded regarding the assassins’ fates.
A Brief History of Seven Killings is James’s fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters—assassins, drug dealers, journalists, and even ghosts—James brings to life the people who walked the streets of 1970s Kingston, who dominated the crack houses of 1980s New York, and who reemerged into a radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s.
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He is the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, The Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction as well as an NAACP Image Award. His first novel John Crow's Devil was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was a New York Times Editor's Choice. In his third novel, A Brief History Of Seven Killings, James is exploring multiple genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit to confront the untold history of Jamaica in the late 1970's; of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley, and the country's own clandestine battles of the cold war.
James graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language And Literature, and from Wilkes University in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared widely including in Esquire, Granta, and The Caribbean Review of Books.