Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James reveals he was given exorcism by Jamaica's 'ex-gay' movement

'It is a really primitive and backward way of curing people,' says James

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 30 May 2016 14:07
Comments
James left Jamaica at the age of 37 because of cultural taboos surrounding homosexuality, being gay remains a criminal offence there, and to further his career in writing
James left Jamaica at the age of 37 because of cultural taboos surrounding homosexuality, being gay remains a criminal offence there, and to further his career in writing

Marlon James, the Jamaican novelist and winner of the Man Booker Prize, has said he undertook exorcism carried out by the “ex-gay” movement in Jamaica.

James, 45, became the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker award last year. His novel, titled A Brief History of Seven Killings, is a violent 686-page thriller written partially in patois about the assassination attempt on Bob Marley.

Speaking at the recent Hay Festival, the author has revealed that he struggled with his sexuality in his mid-thirties and was pushed into having exorcism which was presented as a type of therapy by the 'anti-gay' movement.

The ex-gay movement attempts to stop people from pursuing same-sex relationships and to eliminate homosexual desires and thus pushes them to enter into heterosexual relationships instead.

James recalled being in a room with two preachers and having an exorcism via “a mixture of prayer and support and shaming and vomiting” according to reports in The Times.

Initially, James said the exorcism made him feel cured. “I thought ‘Great, I am getting rid of demons’, until I read up on the whole ex-gay thing,” he said.

“It is dangerously misleading and I think has been discredited. It is a really primitive and backward way of curing people.”

In the end, James chose to “get rid of the church part, not God, and that worked wonderfully”.

James left Jamaica at the age of 37 because of cultural taboos surrounding homosexuality - being gay remains a criminal offence there - and to further his career in writing. “Being a gay Jamaican… nothing happened to me but it could have,” he explained in an interview with The Independent in October of last year.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in