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Author Marlon James given prestigious Silver Musgrave award

WINNER: Marlon James being presented with the Musgrave Silver plaque by Cecile Clayton

AUTHOR MARLON James was recently presented with the prestigious Silver Musgrave award in a special ceremony at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ).

James, who made history earlier this year when he won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, was being recognised for outstanding merit in literature.

An elated James told the intimate gathering that although it took him three years to make the trip to accept the award, he was happy to be recognised by his own people.

"To be recognised by people I grew up with, is quite a humbling and welcoming experience," he said. "Thank you IOJ for waiting three years to present me with this award."

James was supposed to have received the award in 2013, but could not make it to Jamaica for the official awards ceremony at the time.

While thanking the IOJ for recognising his accomplishments, James heaped praises on the local education system, explaining that his foundation was firmly set from the lessons he was taught in Jamaica.

The past student of Wolmer's Boys School and the University of the West Indies, expressed that he is often annoyed when people from overseas assume that his knowledge was acquired overseas.

"One of the things that gets really really annoying when I'm in the States of the UK is when they naturally assume that my literary sensibility or intellectual sensibility happened abroad, so they're always like, 'what college did you go to' and I'm like UWI. Most of the books that I've read I read here. Everything that made me the writer I am came from here."

President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson, was one of the few guests present at the ceremony. He was representing the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, who could not make the event.

In his address, Finson not only lauded James for his many accomplishments, but sought to, on the Minister's behalf, solicit James' help with promoting the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) literary arts programme.

The Musgrave Award was established in 1889 as a memorial to Sir Anthony Musgrave, governor of Jamaica, who founded the Institute of Jamaica in 1879. Musgrave Medals are awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of Literature, Science and Art in Jamaica and the West Indies.

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