Marlon James

Marlon James presented his newest novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf at Liverpool Black History Month on October 14, 2020. He was moderated by Irenosen Okojie.

The United Kingdom hosts its Black History Month, where there are many events celebrating Black citizens of the former European nation, every year in October. One of these activities dubbed Liverpool Black History Month is currently being hosted by Liverpool based Writing on the Wall Festival. For the last few weeks, that event has featured some of the best in the arts from Black people.

On October 14, it was the turn for Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James streaming in from the United States. The Jamaican was there to present his newest book Black Leopard, Red Wolf the first in The Dark Star Trilogy published in 2019. The book for those who are interested has the following blurb;

In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that’s come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Irenosen Okojie in conversation with Marlon James
Irenosen Okojie in conversation with Marlon James

The writer spoke with his moderator about his new novel including how it came to be called an African Game of Thrones, the world building which included vampires, werewolves, and other mystical creatures, the influence of his upbringing in British colonial education and loads more. You can watch the whole discussion at the following address. You can also watch the whole discussion below.

There are many other events at WOW Fest for the next few days as Black History month runs down. Get more information here.