“I realized how sick and tired I was of arguing about whether there should be a black hobbit in Lord of the Rings,” states author Marlon James, when discussing what inspired him to start working on his upcoming (and highly anticipated) novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf.
James wrote the acclaimed A Brief History of Seven Killings, which won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for its eye-opening exploration of the Jamaican diaspora. It was also named a best book of the year by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, TIME, and many other worthy publications. (Yes, it’s that good.)
“An extraordinary book… [It was] very exciting, very violent, full of swearing. It was a book we didn’t actually have any difficulty deciding on – it was a unanimous decision, a little bit to our surprise,” stated Michael Wood, Chair of the Judges for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. “The call was easy but the distance was small… There are many, many voices in the book and it just kept on coming, it kept on doing what it was doing… There is an excitement right from the beginning of this book. A lot of it is very, very funny, a lot of it very human.” Now how do you top that?
Well, according to James himself, you top accomplishments such as those by focusing on inclusivity. “African folklore is just as rich, and just as perverse,” he told Man of the World magazine. “We have witches, we have demons, we have goblins, and mad kings. We have stories of royal succession that would put Wolf Hall to shame. We beat the Tudors two times over.”
The best part: James’ imminent novel is going to embrace all things geeky and nerdy. During his Man of the World interview, he promised that there would be an appendix on magic techniques, at least 100 pages describing a village, and a whooping 200 pages detailing an enigmatic race of dwarves who live underground.
In fact, the author readily describes Black Leopard, Red Wolf as an “African Game of Thrones.”
Based on that four-word description alone, we’ve already made room on our bookshelves for James’ forthcoming work of wonder.
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