James Wilson

Novelist, Playwright, Radio/tv/screenwriter


James Wilson is a novelist whose work has been translated into nine languages. His four novels to date (all published by Faber) offer between them a highly personal fictional history of England from the late 18th (The Bastard Boy, which was longlisted for the International Impac Dublin literary award) to the mid-20th centuries (The Woman in the Picture, described by Kevin Brownlow as ‘A superb achievement’). Although the themes, settings and characters vary widely, each book is to some extent concerned with the relationship between Englishness and the uncanny, the irrational, or the gothic.

James has a long-standing interest in the indigenous peoples of North America. In 1975 he received a Ford Foundation grant to research and write The Original Americans: U.S. Indians for the Minority Rights Group, and since then has worked as scriptwriter and consultant/associate producer on several radio and television projects, including the award-winning Savagery and the American Indian for BBC2. He is also the author of a critically acclaimed work of non-fiction, The Earth Shall Weep: a history of Native America, published by Picador in Britain and by Grove/Atlantic in America, which won a Myers outstanding book award.

James sits on the executive committee of Survival International, and was a founder member of the Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory theatre company in Bristol, where he lived for 22 years. He and his wife now live in south London. His next novel is narrated through the eyes of a boy growing up in an English village in the 1950s.

More from James Wilson


James Wilson

Novelist, Playwright, Radio/tv/screenwriter


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  • University of Bath, 2012–2013
  • University of Exeter, 2010–2012