James McNamara is a British-Australian writer based in Los Angeles.
Television work includes developing and writing shows for Goalpost Pictures and Playmaker/Sony Pictures, and comedy and drama writers rooms for the Academy Award-winning See-Saw Films, Matchbox Pictures / NBC Universal, Foxtel, ABC, Porchlight Films, and Endemol Shine. For the theater, James co-wrote Radio With Pictures, which sold out at the Sydney Opera House. James was recently named an “international rising star” by BAFTA LA and was selected for Australians in Film’s Writers Room development program at Raleigh Studios.
James’s non-fiction writing focuses on American culture and politics. His essays and literary criticism have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Spectator, LA Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The Australian, and Australian Book Review, where he also sits on the editorial advisory board. Clive James praised James’s writing on American television as having “already made a global contribution to cultural analysis” (Play All, Yale), Ian Hislop (Private Eye, Have I Got News For You) has called his political satire “very entertaining”, and Parnassus Books described his Spectator writing as having “quite possibly the best opening of a review in the history of reviews”. James received the ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship – one of Australia’s major long-form journalism awards – for his 2015 cover article on the HBO era of US TV drama. His essay “Some Weird Shit”, on US politics in the Trump era, was the cover story of May 2017’s ABR and in June-July 2018 he was guest editor of ABR’s film and television issue.
James’ writing was honed at Oxford, where he held a Clarendon Scholarship in English and served as Junior Dean of Pembroke College. He received his PhD in English for a thesis on anatomy, vivisection, and the soul in 17th – 19th century British literature and cultural history – a project supervised by Truman Capote Award-winning critic Helen Small, Merton Professor of English at Oxford, and examined by Professor Valentine Cunningham, a former chair of the Booker Prize judges. James regularly draws on this expertise for work on literary adaptations and historical dramas in feature film and television, most recently for Goalpost Pictures, Porchlight Films, Playmaker Media, and Matchbox Pictures. Additionally, James teaches part-time in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
James also holds degrees in English and Law from the University of Western Australia and in screenwriting from AFTRS. He trained in performance writing and directing in NIDA’s Studio program, studied comedy writing at the Second City, and is an alumni of the Upright Citizens Brigade’s improv program. Before becoming a writer, James was a trial lawyer specializing in international disputes for a top-tier US law firm. He is represented by Kathryn Fleming at TFA.
The less serious version of this page can be found on the IFAQ page .