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This event is sponsored by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.
In this evening dialogue, Michael Bennett and Marlon James will discuss the literary, historical and cultural influences on James' novel "Black Leopard Red Wolf." How does a global medievalism move into Afrofuturism? How do we transcend the worlds of Tolkien and Martin as writers, as readers? What does it look like to reclaim and reinvent the fantasy novel?
“As people of colour in the diaspora, we’re particularly interested in stories that go beyond slavery. I’m tired of that being seen as the furthest in the past we can go or that swords and sorcery aren’t available to us.”
– Marlon James, interviewed in The Guardian
Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for "A Brief History of Seven Killings," making him the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. In the work, James combines masterful storytelling with brilliant skill at characterization and an eye for detail to forge a bold novel of dazzling ambition and scope. He explores Jamaican history through the perspectives of multiple narrators and genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit confront the untold history of Jamaica in the 1970’s, with excursions to the assassination attempt on reggae musician Bob Marley, as well as the country’s own clandestine battles during the cold war. James cites influences as diverse as Greek tragedy, William Faulkner, the LA crime novelist James Ellroy, Shakespeare, Batman and the X-Men.
Marlon James is the author of The New York Times bestselling novel "Black Leopard Red Wolf." Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times said of the novel, "The fictional Africa in 'Black Leopard, Red Wolf' feels like a place mapped by Gabriel García Márquez and Hieronymus Bosch with an assist from Salvador Dalí. It’s a magical, sometimes beautiful place, but also a place filled with malicious vampires, demons, witches and necromancers, given to murder, cannibalism and the hurling of evil spells."