James McNamara is an award-winning British-Australian writer, based in Los Angeles.
As a screenwriter, James is currently working on a new television drama with Matchbox Pictures / NBC Universal for Foxtel and is part of BAFTA’s main talent development program in Hollywood. Recent work includes co-creating an historical action/heist drama for Playmaker Media / Sony Pictures and writers rooms for the Academy Award-winning See-Saw Films, ABC, Porchlight Films, and Endemol Shine. For the theater, James co-wrote Radio With Pictures, which sold out at the Sydney Opera House. He began his US work as a member of 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 described James’s writing on American television as having “already made a global contribution to cultural analysis” (Play All, Yale), and Ian Hislop (Private Eye, Have I Got News For You) has called his political satire “very entertaining”. 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 satiric essay “Some Weird Shit”, on US politics in the Trump era, was the cover story of May 2017’s ABR and among the magazine’s top five most-read stories for the year.
James’ writing was honed at Oxford, where he held a Clarendon Scholarship 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 Professor Helen Small and examined by Professor Valentine Cunningham, a former chair of the Booker Prize judges. James regularly draws on this academic background for work on literary adaptations and historical dramas in feature film and television, most recently for Porchlight Films, Playmaker Media, and Matchbox Pictures.
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, and in comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in LA. 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 .