A rich winning book narrated in West Indian patois with bouts of poetry, and 75 characters – both living and dead – chipping in. Marlon James became the first Jamaican to win the prize

A Brief History of Seven Killings is a story of Bob Marley (or ‘The Singer’ as he is termed), a botched assassination, drugs, violence, gangs, swearing, reggae and the CIA. The chair of judges, Michael Wood, confessed that the choice of winner wasn’t put to a vote, because: ‘as we talked certain books seemed further away… and then it dawned on us, this was the book’.

On winning, the sartorially-minded James said: ‘I can go to Gieves & Hawkes, finally get my Ozwald Boateng suit.’

Marlon James
Published by
Oneworld Publications
In a dazzling display of masterful storytelling, Marlon James explores the extraordinary backstory to the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.

The Shortlist

Satin Island
The Fishermen
A Spool of Blue Thread
A Little Life

The Longlist

The 2015 judges