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Marlon James Makes Vanity Fair List of Daring 25

Marlon James Makes Vanity Fair List of Daring 25 for 2016

Author Marlon James is among Vanity Fair’s diverse list of the most intrepid people, companies and innovations in the United States in 2016. The list spans fashion, food, design, and IT. It contains a fisherman, and a virtual reality company, an online retailer and a saxophonist, software engineers and a comedian.

The list describes James as a novelist “writing a new chapter in book publishing by combining complex characters and settings with adrenaline-pumping action.”

James’ Man Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, with its uncompromising approach to violence, large congregation of up to 70 characters who narrate the story (including a ghost) and willingness to break the rules of prose writing, earned him the nod as a game changer.  

In the article, James admits that he had expected his editor to remove several of elements that made it to the widely acclaimed novel. 

“The violence, the sex, the politics, the sometimes thinly veiled real people. I said ‘I’ll just leave this all in until my editor takes it out.’ It was kind of scary, but being scared has never stopped me before.”

Marlon James at Calabash 2016The impressive Vanity Fair list includes saxophonist Kamasi Washington, director Ana Lily Amirpour, the virtual reality creating Felix and Paul Studios, comedian W. Kamau Bell, humanitarian and entrepreneur Leila Janah, non-profit organization Refugees United, software engineer Tracy Chou, high performance trainer Andy Walshe, software engineer Moxie Marlinspike, as well as artist educator and urban planner Theaster Gates.

James who currently lives in Minnesota and will be returning to teach at Malacaster College in the fall after a year-long sabbatical. He told Vanity Fair that he’s currently working on the development of a British TV show and his next novel with he has described as “an African Game of Thrones”. 

James is the author of three novels including The Book of Night Women and his debut John Crow’s Devil. As James admitted to Vanity Fair there was a time it seemed his writing career would never come to fruition after John Crow’s Devil was rejected by 78 publishers. That changed when the Calabash Writing Workshop introduced him to Kaylie Jones who introduced him to New York independent publisher Akashic.

“I destroyed the manuscript and erased all traces of it and went to friends and told them to erase it from their computers,” James told Vanity Fair. “I thought, ‘So many people thought it wasn’t good, how could they be wrong?’”

Evidently, they were.