If I return to Jamaica some people will think this satanic sodomite scum should go back: Marlon James
If you're a writer of any measure or ambition, it'd be safe to say a New York Times review of this nature can be a huge fillip to your self-esteem: "like a Tarantino remake of the The Harder They Come, but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner . sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex."
That's exactly the review Kingston-born Marlon James received for his 2014 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, published by independent publishers Oneworld. He also received the Man Booker prize for it - the first time any Jamaican author has won it in the Booker's 47-year history. And like most romantic literary struggles go, James' first novel, John Crow's Devil, was rejected a staggering 70 times. It's a different matter the book subsequently became a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and also received a New York Editors' Choice Award.
But despite all the accolades James is still Jamaican, black and gay. And that isn't an easy legacy to carry. In conversation at the Jaipur Literature Festival, he talks about the weight of that legacy, the human power of empathy and the importance of "complicating dialogue". Plus, his adoration of Rihanna, leaving the church, and young love at age eight.
Video edited and produced by: Andrew Clarance