Marlon James — the author of Man Booker Prize-winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings and former album cover designer for Sean Paul, has announced an upcoming trilogy of fantasy novels that he says draw influence from Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and African mythology. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, James discussed the fantastical world that he has spent the better part of the last three years creating.
James says that the original inspiration for the series came from a discussion with a friend about diversity and representation in the fantasy genre, and, more specifically, The Hobbit. "It made me start to think about the fantastic African epic traditions — some of the stories I grew up with, like Anansi the Spider," he said. "I just realized that there’s this huge pool of fantastic stories to draw from. It’s sort of like my being a scholar of African history and mythology, and my being a total sci-fi/fantasy geek who rereads things like The Mists of Avalon, they just sort of came together."
Since the release of his last novel in 2014, James says he has been diligently researching African folklore and languages in order to create his new universe: "To get it right, I’m trying to learn a lot of African languages. I love that Tolkien just created Elvish. I also like that he didn’t bother to translate it!" The first book in the series is expected to be released in fall 2018.
Read Marlon James's full interview with Entertainment Weekly here.