This evening, Dec. 7, award-winning novelist Marlon James will visit the Rubenstein Arts Center for a reading and book signing.
In 2015, James won the Booker Prize — awarded to the best English fiction novel published in the UK or Ireland — for his vast novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. Through the eyes of 30-plus narrators in over 600 pages, Seven Killings thoroughly explores Jamaican culture and history through the story of an assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976. Born in Kingston in 1970, his Booker Prize marked the first win for a Jamaican author. My creative writing professor declared Seven Killings “probably my favorite book of all time.”
The author of five total novels, James visits in the midst of his acclaimed Dark Star trilogy — thus far, a pair of fantasy epics spanning a fantastical African world that displays the author’s love for African history and mythology. The trilogy opens with Black Leopard, Red Wolf — a 2019 National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Bestseller. In the tale, a mercenary called Tracker searches for a missing boy and battles an adversary called the Moon Witch. Then, in the subsequent novel Moon Witch, Spider King, James flips the narration to Sogolon the Moon Witch and her account of life and the search for the boy. The trilogy’s final installment, The Boy and the Dark Star, is anxiously awaited.
Furthermore, James enters a new creative medium with his upcoming HBO series “Get Millie Black.” The crime drama, set in Kingston, follows Millie-Jean Black — a Jamaican-born and Londan-raised detective — on her return home to solve missing person cases. The series stars Tamara Lawrance as Millie Black, Gershwyn Eustache (of “Andor”) as her partner Curtis, Joe Dempsie (of “Game of Thrones”) as Scotland Yard Inspector Luke, and Chyna McQueen as Millie’s transgender sibling Hibiscus. The series is directed by Tanya Hamilton (of “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”). James’ mother was a detective in Jamaica. As James explained, “Storytelling has always struck me first and foremost as a mystery to be solved—which I’m sure I got from her.”
Lastly, for the literary lovers, James co-hosts a podcast with his editor Jake Morrissey called “Marlon & Jake Read Dead People.” The duo dissects renowned authors with their hottest takes. Hence, the ‘deceased’ requirement. As a podcast connoisseur myself, I quite enjoyed an episode on unreliable narrators. James' podcasting voice listens as well as his writing voice reads.
The event will take place in the Ruby Lounge of the Rubenstein Arts Center starting at 7 p.m.
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