A Tour of Novelist Marlon James’s Loft in Minneapolis


A report by Steven Kurutz for the New York Times. Follow the link to the original report and the gallery of photos.

Age 45

Occupation Novelist; his most recent book, “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” won the Man Booker Prize.

Location Minneapolis

Favorite Room The living room of his loft apartment (in a former Sears building), which Mr. 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.”

I really love how warm this room is. What do you like about it?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.

Is that an extension of your childhood home or something you set out to create? 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.

For notoriously snowy Minneapolis, it’s also quite green in here.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.

What’s this red sculpture? Is it by an artist whose work you collect? 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.

I noticed the Bob Dylan record among your collection. What’s your thought on him winning the Nobel Prize in Literature? 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.

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