MINNEAPOLIS, Nov 4 ― Marlon James
Occupation: Novelist; his most recent book, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the Man Booker Prize.
Favorite room: The living room of his loft apartment (in a former Sears building), which James has filled with art, books, photographs, records and plants. Empty rooms bother him, he said: “It’s like going into a house with no books. I find it profoundly upsetting.”
Q: I really love how warm this room is. What do you like about it?
A: My friend Ingrid said, “Wow, this is so you.” I guess that’s it, really. It reflects all the things I’m interested in. Another thing I love: no TV. And two couches that face each other. So whether you like it or not, we’re going to have a conversation.
Q: Is that an extension of your childhood home or something you set out to create?
A: The house I grew up in, the TV was always on. It was a great place to be together but apart. Which is not to knock it. But I always loved the idea of the living room as social space.
As a writer, I’m alone most of my time, so I like entertaining. There will be wine and olives out and people over. Usually, I’m cooking Jamaican food.
Q: For notoriously snowy Minneapolis, it’s also quite green in here.
A: It’s almost overrun with plants. But I grew up being near nature and taking it for granted. It’s becoming quite a jungle. I’m waiting to see a snake.
Q: What’s this red sculpture? Is it by an artist whose work you collect?
A: No, we’re not talking about something classy here. There’s a store in Minneapolis, Go Home Furnishings. They sell fun, wacky, ridiculous things. But a room needs to have one piece of kitsch or whimsy that you can laugh at.
Q: I noticed the Bob Dylan record among your collection. What’s your thought on him winning the Nobel Prize in Literature?
A: What the Nobel committee said of Dylan, that he’s bringing poeticism to the American songbook, is absolutely true. I was stunned from the negative responses that came from American writers. I was ecstatic when he won it. Song is literature. ― The New York Times