James McNamara is a British-Australian television writer based in Los Angeles and Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
James is currently creating Detective Cooper, a television series for Goalpost Pictures and an adaptation of Malla Nunn’s critically acclaimed novels. He is also creating a series for Playmaker Media/Sony Pictures. Other recent TV work includes writers rooms for the Academy Award-winning See-Saw Films, Matchbox Pictures / NBC Universal, Foxtel, ABC, Porchlight Films, and Endemol Shine. James also consulted on feature films for Icon Films, Porchlight Films, and Fox Searchlight Pictures. For the theater, James co-wrote Radio With Pictures, which sold out at the Sydney Opera House. As a screenwriter, James was recently named an “international rising star” by BAFTA LA.
James’s non-fiction writing focuses on American culture. 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 is a past member of 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). James received the ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship – one of Australia’s major awards for criticism – for his work on the HBO era of US TV drama. In June-July 2018, James was guest editor of ABR’s film and television issue.
James teaches film at UCSB, where his research and teaching interests center on adaptation studies, with a focus on screen adaptations of Shakespeare. He received his PhD in English Literature from Oxford, where he held a Clarendon Scholarship and was supervised by Professor Helen Small. James also graduated from AFTRS, Australia’s national film school, and holds degrees in English and Law from the University of Western Australia. He trained in performance writing and directing in NIDA’s Studio program and with the Bell Shakespeare Company in Sydney, and at The Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade in LA. Before becoming a writer, James was a trial lawyer specializing in international disputes at a top-tier US law firm. He is represented by Kathryn Fleming at TFA.
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