Marlon James at celebrations for Man Booker Prize 50th Anniversary

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Just a royal glimpse . . . and only because Marlon James is there.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall attended a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Man Booker Prize. The reception at Buckingham Palace marks the start of celebrations for the Man Booker Prize, which turns 50 this year. The Man Booker Prize is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK.

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One thought on “Marlon James at celebrations for Man Booker Prize 50th Anniversary

  1. Although once celebrated for this his most popularly known legacy to Great Briain, I am appalled as I am sure most will be that on this, the 50th anniversary of its foundation, there is no mention, whatsoever, of “Jock” or John Middleton Campbell, Lord Campbell of Eskan on the Man Booker website.

    As I pointed out to both the trustees and members of the Booker Foundation’s Advisory Committee, as well as the news media five years ago during the brouhaha over such a prestigious award’s loss of its British Commonwealth identity, Campbell represents an almost unimaginably ideal and even redemptive resolution to the glaring contradictions of being a descendant of Jamaican slaves, as well as the Scottish scion of the largest sugar concern in the history of the triangular slave trade. Interestingly enough, it is through one of the most important banking families in Great Britain, the Bevan partners of the Barclays, that he inherited his African ancestry.

    His 1995 obituary in The Independent, for instance, jocularly opened with a flurry of the labels he’d been stuck with over the years such as the Enlightened Businessman, Labour Peer, Socialist Industrialist, Idealist Realist. Because of his famous reforms of the sugar industry he was made a life peer under Harold Wilson becoming an enormously influential Labor Party activist in Parliament. It was on May 5th, 1971, in the House of Lords that he made what, understandably, has become his most memorable speech, arguing that “MAXIMIZING PROFITS CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE THE SOLE PURPOSE, OR EVEN THE PRIMARY PURPOSE, OF BUSINESS.”

    Campbell’s slave ancestry, but, even more interestingly, the part it played in his transformation from playboy (and owner of Ian Flemming’s James Bond franchise) to socialist saviour is, all too obviously, a very important and forceful reason to have this particular perspective on his biography finally acknowledged.

    Mario Valdes
    Cambridge, MA, USA

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