James McDermott is a writer based in East Anglia represented by Independent Talent.
James graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA (Distinction) in Scriptwriting (2016) and First Class BA Honours in Scriptwriting and Performance (2012-2015). James was the recipient of UEA's Malcolm Bradbury MA in Scriptwriting Bursary 2015. James has also trained on The Royal Court Writers Group, Soho Theatre Writers Lab, Hampstead Theatre's Inspire: The Next Playwright Programme, Criterion Theatre's New Writing Group, Menagerie Theatre's Young Writers' Workshop, Hat Trick Productions Your Voice Your Story Scheme and BBC's EastEnders Writers Shadow Scheme.
James has written several plays for venues across the country. These include 'Jab' (Finborough Theatre; starring Kacey Ainsworth and Liam Tobin; directed by Scott Le Crass), 'Acid's Reign' (Vaults Festival 2023; starring Scarlett Harlett from RuPaul's Drag Race UK), 'The Birds & The Bees' (New Wolsey/UK Tour), 'Shanty' (Sheringham Little Theatre), 'Robin Good: The Politico-Panto' (Norwich Playhouse), 'Ghosted' (Sheringham Little Theatre/Out There Festival 2021), 'Time & Tide' (Park Theatre/East of England Tour; nominated for an Off West End Theatre Award for Best New Play 2020; longlisted for the Bruntwood, Papatango & Verity Bargate Playwriting Prizes; shortlisted for the Snoo Wilson Playwriting Prize 2016), 'Rubber Ring' (Pleasance Islington/UK Tour; Winner of Pulse Festival's Suitcase Prize 2017) and 'Fast Food' (Lyric Hammersmith Gala 2017; starring Jude Law). 'Jab', 'Time & Tide' and 'Rubber Ring' are published by Samuel French/Concord Theatricals and 'Shanty' is published by Polari Press.
James has written several episodes of BBC One soap opera 'EastEnders' and plays for BBC Radio 4. His short films include 'Clause', which was nominated for Best East Anglian Film at Norwich Film Festival 2023 and part of the Official Selection at BAFTA Qualifying Norwich Film Festival 2023, Italy's Lover's Film Festival 2023, Queer Wave Cyprus LGBTQIA+ Film Festival 2023 and Beijing Queer Film Festival 2023. You can read more about James's work as a scriptwriter here.
As a poet, James is widely published in journals and magazines including Poetry Wales, The North, Butcher's Dog, Popshot Quarterly, Ink Sweat & Tears and 14 Poems. His poetry collections include 'Wild Life', published by Nine Arches Press, which was shortlisted for The East Anglian Book Award 2023, and the spoken word collection 'Manatomy', published by Burning Eye Books, which was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021. James's pamphlets include 'Erased', published by Polari Press, and 'Green Apple Red', published by Broken Sleep Books. James was commissioned by Netflix's Heartstopper to write new poem 'Fizz' which featured in Series 2 Episode 7 of the show. James is currently writing his third collection, exploring grief after losing his anti-vaxxer father to COVID, which will be published in 2025. You can read more about James's poetry here.
James is a Lecturer in Scriptwriting at The University of East Anglia, Visiting Lecturer in Scriptwriting at Norwich University of the Arts, tutor for National Theatre's New Views and an Arvon writing tutor. James has designed and delivered scriptwriting courses for Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and New Wolsey. Freelance, James teaches creative writing online and in theatres, schools and colleges across the country. He is also a private scriptwriting and poetry writing tutor. James is currently writing a handbook on scriptwriting craft as part of Story Machines' You Are A Writer series, due for publication in Spring 2024. You can read more about James's teaching work here and contact him directly for details about private mentoring here.
James is currently a Trustee of the Board at Creative Arts East and has previously been a Trustee for Holt Festival and INK New Writing Festival.
"His eye, tone, language, wit, insights and power of expression are simply magnificent" Stephen Fry
"I love his writing. Full of life, love and LOLZ!"
Jonathan Harvey, Playwright & Screenwriter
"A very talented playwright... His plays are notable for their extraordinary mixture of wit, maturity and a zest for dialogue. Each piece I have read of his has grown in craft yet remained true to his core talents of emotional candour, humane characterisation and great comic verve. He has a great future as a playwright"
Steve Waters, Playwright
"James has got naturally funny bones and captures a sense of truthfulness in his storytelling that completely charms the audience. James is a rising star and any theatre would be lucky to have him!"
Lara Singer, Comedy Development Editor at Big Talk Productions
"Remember his name: James McDermott. His precise and glittering use of language and his sympathy and humour grip the audience"
Eastern Daily Press