The winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize says he underwent exorcism as part of a therapy pushed by the “ex-gay” religious movement in Jamaica.
Openly gay author Marlon James, who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, underwent the therapy thinking he was trapped in a cycle of self destructive habits.
“It’s only in talking to people who’ve been through the ex-gay movement that I realise what I went through was exactly what they went through – I didn’t know there was a rule book,” he told The Sunday Star Times.
“I went through it because I thought I was trapped in a cycle of self-destructive habits and I needed more than prayer every Sunday to break it.
“But having read about other people who went through ex-gay therapy – about the two preachers, the praying, the driving out spirits, the having the bags on the floor so you can vomit in them when you throw up – it occurred to me they were doing the same thing.
“I went through that because I thought I was on this cycle of temptation, sin, forgiveness, redemption, temptation, sin, forgiveness, redemption and I had got tired of it. And the funny thing is that I really do think that exorcism really did clear things up – it made me realise that you could try to get rid of temptation and you could try to get rid of sin or you could try to get rid of religion – and I’d tried all the others and it really hadn’t worked.
“Then I said ‘what about if I get rid of religion’ – and that has worked out fine…”
James came out publicly last year in the The New York Times when he was commissioned to write a piece that was a voyage to himself.