Novelist Marlon James reveals he tried to ‘drive out the gay’ at church


The Jamaican writer and winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize has said he endured an “extreme” attempt to alter his sexuality.

James, who achieved literary fame with his third novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings, has said he wanted more than anything to change who he was.


The writer said he was unsure of his own sexuality when he was young, and was willing to undergo an intense and nauseating ritual to fit into Jamaican society.

Speaking on BBC radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, James said that his problems were eventually solved when he decided to give up religion instead of his sexuality.

The novelist said that he was sick multiple times during an exorcism at his church which he hoped would change him.

He said: “I really threw myself into it. I was at church almost every day of the week.

“Homophobia was going to get to me sooner or later.

“I didn’t know I was gay.

“We’re all repressed together.

“We’re all ‘let’s just forget all emotion and think God will provide’.

“God is going to provide a wife who is going to understand my quote unquote ‘struggle’.

“I wanted it more than anything.

Amanda Benson/BBC Radio 4/PA Wire


“That’s why I eventually had my sort of exorcism to drive out the gay. It’s extreme ex-gay therapy. Back then I thought they were just driving out demons. It’s a kind of mental control.

“It’s this relentless, everything you say, ‘that’s not…

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