The BKBF Interview: Marlon James


The BKBF Interview with literary giant Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf.


Where is your favorite place to read?

On the G train.

What is your favorite book to give an adult or a child?

An Adult: Dogeaters, by Jessica Hagedorn. Child: Anything by Walter Moers.

Tell us your best book-receiving experience.

My friends are way too intimidated to buy me books. So I just tell them what to get me.

What books are currently piled in your “To Be Read” stack … and where can the stack be found in your home?

Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky; Saeed Jones, How We Fight For Our Lives; Toni Morrison, A Mouth Full Of Blood; and Brian K. Vaughan, Saga Book 3. All by my bedside.

What book do you return to most often, whether passages or whole?

Sula, by Toni Morrison

What’s the best book about your hometown?

Augustown, by Kei Miller

What’s the last book that had you reading past your bedtime?

As Meat Loves Salt, by Maria McCann

What book puts in you that “back to school” state of mind?

Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray

If you had the power to create your own fantasy BKBF panel – any writer or artist, dead or alive – who would you love to see discussing books?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Chinua Achebe, Toni Cade Bambara and Jean Genet, to keep things interesting.

BONUS QUESTION: In honor of the 5th anniversary of Children’s Day, we’re asking everyone, What’s your favorite children’s book?

Oliver Twist.


Marlon James is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Brief History of Seven Killings, The Book of Night Women, and John Crow’s Devil. A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize, the American Book Award, and the Anisfeld-Wolf Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Book of Night Women won the Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the NAACP Image Award. A professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, James divides his time between Minnesota and New York. His most recent book, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is the first of a planned trilogy.


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