Words by Nneka Samuel
Good news for fans of Jamaican novelist Marlon James. His third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, rated one of the top books of 2014 by The New York Times, was recently optioned by cable network HBO. James himself will be writing the script for television adaptation, with guidance from Academy Award winning writer Eric Roth of Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Beginning in 1970s Kingston, Brief History centers on main character and gangster Josey Wales, spanning three decades worth of Jamaican politics and culture. Factual and speculative at the same time, the epic novel is partially based on the real life gang and drug cartel Shower Posse. Not only does the novel examine the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley during the time of Jamaica’s general election, it centers on drug trafficking, espionage and America’s 1980s crack epidemic that destroyed so many lives. And it does it all with a Patois flair.
James will take a yearlong sabbatical from his duties as an English professor at Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minnesota to pen the small screen adaptation. Here’s hoping the series goes to order.