When Books Come out of Books

The cover of Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings

“When Books Come out of Books”, a talk by the author Marlon James (author of "A Brief History of Seven Killings," winner of the Man Booker Prize).


On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica concert to ease political tensions, seven men from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert. But the next day he left the country and didn’t return for two years.


Inspired by this near-mythic event, "A Brief History of Seven Killings" takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer. The story traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked.


Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970.

James’ 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. His second novel, "The Book of Night Women," won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award.

James’ writing has appeared in Esquire, Granta, Publisher’s Weekly and The Caribbean Review of Books.

- From themanbookerprize.com


Rosemarie Dombrowski
Marston Exploration Center, ISTB4
Tempe campus

COVID-19 information

FAQ page  | Latest updates.