James Kidd

James Kidd

James Kidd is a freelance writer based in Oxford, Britain. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Literary Review, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The National, Time Out and The Jerusalem Post among others. He hosts the This Writing Life podcast (thiswritinglife.co.uk), featuring interviews with writers such as Hanya Yanagihara, David Mitchell, Amit Chaudhuri and Meena Kandasamy, and co-hosts Lit Bits (litbits.co.uk), named by The Observer as one of its top three literary podcasts.

Latest from James Kidd

Daughter of the Moon Goddess author Sue Lynn Tan on her reimagining of a Chinese myth and reaching for a dream

In Daughter of the Moon Goddess, Sue Lynn Tan imagines the goddess Chang’e has a daughter, Silver Star. She talks about the long road to publication of her first novel, and how Hong Kong inspires her writing.

In Daughter of the Moon Goddess, Sue Lynn Tan imagines the goddess Chang’e has a daughter, Silver Star. She talks about the long road to publication of her first novel, and how Hong Kong inspires her writing.

8 Jan 2022 - 7:15PM
How quarantine killed Romeo and Juliet: Covid-19 shines new light on old stories

From Shakespeare to C.S. Lewis, one reader discovered that despite avoiding any novel that shaped his experience of the pandemic, his experience was shaping the novels he was reading.

From Shakespeare to C.S. Lewis, one reader discovered that despite avoiding any novel that shaped his experience of the pandemic, his experience was shaping the novels he was reading.

12 Dec 2021 - 4:15PM
12 days of Christmas history you don’t hear sung about, from messy murders and miserable Mao to the birth of Frankenstein’s monster

Need a break from the usual holiday headaches? Then take a look at our alternative 12 days of Christmas – a historical hodgepodge of festive feats, fails and foul plays.

Need a break from the usual holiday headaches? Then take a look at our alternative 12 days of Christmas – a historical hodgepodge of festive feats, fails and foul plays.

11 Dec 2021 - 7:38AM
‘Keanu Reeves was all we had’: literary fantasy author Shelley Parker-Chan on growing up without role models as a queer Asian kid in Australia

Identity was on Shelley Parker-Chan’s mind growing up, and it looms large in her brilliant debut novel, She Who Became The Sun. Set in 14th century China, it’s a love letter to Chinese television dramas.

Identity was on Shelley Parker-Chan’s mind growing up, and it looms large in her brilliant debut novel, She Who Became The Sun. Set in 14th century China, it’s a love letter to Chinese television dramas.

20 Nov 2021 - 1:53PM
Review | Children’s book Julia and the Shark a harrowing, moving, inspiring story of a summer holiday and a lost innocence

Kiran Millwood Hargrave returns to children’s fiction with this story of a summer holiday in a lighthouse that turns very dark.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave returns to children’s fiction with this story of a summer holiday in a lighthouse that turns very dark.

13 Nov 2021 - 7:26PM
Mental health the theme of 2021 Hong Kong International Literary Festival - expect a starry, diverse and surprising line-up of authors

The idea of revival and recovery takes centre stage at the 2021 Hong Kong International Literary Festival, whose programme is organised around themes of wellness, community and trauma.

The idea of revival and recovery takes centre stage at the 2021 Hong Kong International Literary Festival, whose programme is organised around themes of wellness, community and trauma.

4 Nov 2021 - 10:10PM
The more he read about Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s wife, the more Gavin McCrea liked her – ‘the most powerful woman in the world, but in my novel also just living a life’

The Sisters Mao by Irish novelist Gavin McCrea interweaves the experiences of Mao Zedong’s actress wife with that of two thespian sisters in 1968 London. He explains what drew him to Jiang Qing’s story.

The Sisters Mao by Irish novelist Gavin McCrea interweaves the experiences of Mao Zedong’s actress wife with that of two thespian sisters in 1968 London. He explains what drew him to Jiang Qing’s story.

18 Sep 2021 - 6:47PM
Summer books 2021 for all ages, from Chinese fantasy fiction and Netflix-ready sci-fi to self-help guides and Covid-19 deep dives

Fiction or non-fiction, we have the pick of the best books to read this summer, whether you’re on a beach or in lockdown waiting for the pandemic to end.

Fiction or non-fiction, we have the pick of the best books to read this summer, whether you’re on a beach or in lockdown waiting for the pandemic to end.

17 Jul 2021 - 1:54PM
Review | Salman Rushdie’s Languages of Truth, his second non-fiction anthology, is engaging, funny and intimate

Rushdie’s second non-fiction anthology, Languages of Truth picks up where Step Across This Line left off in 2002 and is every bit as pleasurable as its predecessor.

Rushdie’s second non-fiction anthology, Languages of Truth picks up where Step Across This Line left off in 2002 and is every bit as pleasurable as its predecessor.

12 Jul 2021 - 7:45PM
Review | Yan Lianke’s Cultural Revolution novel of love and hate is a visceral, violent triumph

Hard Like Water’s hero is bent on vengeance almost from birth, and the Cultural Revolution gives him his opportunity. He seeks something else too, and finds it in his sexual infatuation with a lover.

Hard Like Water’s hero is bent on vengeance almost from birth, and the Cultural Revolution gives him his opportunity. He seeks something else too, and finds it in his sexual infatuation with a lover.

3 Jul 2021 - 1:15PM
China’s leading foreign actor on his first book, The Eunuch, and getting to grips with the ruthless Chinese film industry

Jonathan Kos-Read – aka Cao Cao – would have had no trouble drawing on his experiences navigating China’s film industry to evoke the treacherous atmosphere of Jin dynasty hierarchy in The Eunuch.

Jonathan Kos-Read – aka Cao Cao – would have had no trouble drawing on his experiences navigating China’s film industry to evoke the treacherous atmosphere of Jin dynasty hierarchy in The Eunuch.

7 Jun 2021 - 10:13AM
Chinglish: Sue Cheung revisits the racism, trauma and humour of growing up in a Chinese takeaway in Britain

Sue Cheung’s humorous book Chinglish has received critical acclaim, but writing it meant revisiting the often unpleasant experience of growing up in her family’s Chinese takeaway in the UK, and the brutal violence meted out by her otherwise uncommunicative father.

Sue Cheung’s humorous book Chinglish has received critical acclaim, but writing it meant revisiting the often unpleasant experience of growing up in her family’s Chinese takeaway in the UK, and the brutal violence meted out by her otherwise uncommunicative father.

19 Apr 2021 - 11:03AM
Land of Big Numbers: writer Te-Ping Chen tries to make sense of China by focusing on the miniature

For journalist Te-Ping Chen, getting to grips with a country the size of China meant looking at the small stuff – which she does in her first short story collection.

For journalist Te-Ping Chen, getting to grips with a country the size of China meant looking at the small stuff – which she does in her first short story collection.

4 Apr 2021 - 7:15PM
Book lovers to enjoy virtual festival of writing, reading and conversation across the globe in Literature Live Around the World

Literature Live Around the World kicks off the Year of the Ox with 12 hours of readings and conversations about books, featuring authors from Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida to Karl Ove Knausgard.

Literature Live Around the World kicks off the Year of the Ox with 12 hours of readings and conversations about books, featuring authors from Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida to Karl Ove Knausgard.

11 Feb 2021 - 6:15PM
How do people celebrate Christmas and the festive season around the world?

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all men and their often bizarre traditions, whether it’s a gift-defecating log or a festive fist-fight. We hitch a ride on the big man’s sleigh to see for ourselves.

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all men and their often bizarre traditions, whether it’s a gift-defecating log or a festive fist-fight. We hitch a ride on the big man’s sleigh to see for ourselves.

24 Dec 2020 - 10:59AM
What does our appetite for psychological thrillers say about the realities of the 21st century life?

If the trend for Gothic novels reflected the revolutions of the era, what does our appetite for psychological thrillers say about the fears and complex reality of the 21st century?

If the trend for Gothic novels reflected the revolutions of the era, what does our appetite for psychological thrillers say about the fears and complex reality of the 21st century?

23 Dec 2020 - 6:16AM
Christmas in the time of coronavirus: how Dickens’ classic tales take on new connotations

In the Covid-19 era even classic Christmas stories, such as Dickens’ three seasonal tales, take on new connotations.

In the Covid-19 era even classic Christmas stories, such as Dickens’ three seasonal tales, take on new connotations.

17 Dec 2020 - 5:19PM
How Much of These Hills is Gold: C Pam Zhang’s novel is a Chinese take on the American western

Longlisted for the Booker Prize, American-Chinese author C Pam Zhang’s novel takes a timely look at racism in the US through the eyes of two Chinese orphans.

Longlisted for the Booker Prize, American-Chinese author C Pam Zhang’s novel takes a timely look at racism in the US through the eyes of two Chinese orphans.

16 Nov 2020 - 4:15PM
The future of Hong Kong is uncertain and unpredictable, says ‘global historian’ Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Sinologist and ‘global historian’ Jeffrey Wasserstrom, who bore witness to the anger and utopia of Occupy Central in 2014 and last year’s Hong Kong protests, makes just one prediction: that he is unlikely to visit China again.

Sinologist and ‘global historian’ Jeffrey Wasserstrom, who bore witness to the anger and utopia of Occupy Central in 2014 and last year’s Hong Kong protests, makes just one prediction: that he is unlikely to visit China again.

7 Nov 2020 - 12:25PM
Author Jhumpa Lahiri on why writing in Italian is like ‘falling in love’

English exposed the vulnerabilities of the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s parents while Italian gave her ‘a real and new sense of quiet’.

English exposed the vulnerabilities of the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s parents while Italian gave her ‘a real and new sense of quiet’.

31 Oct 2020 - 1:41PM
Review | What you should know about loneliness, and how to overcome it

As author Noreena Hertz explains in The Lonely Century the epidemic of loneliness has been in the making for 40 years as individualism grew while community faded.

As author Noreena Hertz explains in The Lonely Century the epidemic of loneliness has been in the making for 40 years as individualism grew while community faded.

20 Oct 2020 - 2:51PM
Fashion in fiction, from Sherlock Holmes’ deerstalker to Patrick Bateman’s designer name-dropping

Believe it or not, the Bible is chock full of sartorial advice and there is more to fashion fiction than the frivolity of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series.

Believe it or not, the Bible is chock full of sartorial advice and there is more to fashion fiction than the frivolity of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series.

20 Sep 2020 - 5:21PM
Malaysian comedian behind viral Uncle Roger video on YouTube ‘super grateful’ people love his work

Nigel Ng, the Malaysian stand-up comedian behind a viral video in which he reacts to a BBC guide to how to make egg fried rice, could not have predicted how popular his comedy sketch would be.

Nigel Ng, the Malaysian stand-up comedian behind a viral video in which he reacts to a BBC guide to how to make egg fried rice, could not have predicted how popular his comedy sketch would be.

20 Oct 2020 - 11:06AM
Review | The Bird in the Bamboo Cage: Hazel Gaynor’s novel explores the devastation of a Japanese internment camp

Set in China’s Weihsien internment camp, Hazel Gaynor’s latest book, The Bird in the Bamboo cage, explores human strength in the face of catastrophe in a way that feels fitting for today.

Set in China’s Weihsien internment camp, Hazel Gaynor’s latest book, The Bird in the Bamboo cage, explores human strength in the face of catastrophe in a way that feels fitting for today.

24 Aug 2020 - 11:42AM
Review | 80 years of Vietnam’s fraught history distilled in poet’s debut novel The Mountains Sing

The Tran family’s saga of suffering laid out in poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel, The Mountains Sing, is also that of her country, Vietnam. Truth is cast as the ultimate hero.

The Tran family’s saga of suffering laid out in poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel, The Mountains Sing, is also that of her country, Vietnam. Truth is cast as the ultimate hero.

5 Nov 2020 - 9:28PM
Review | In Yiyun Li’s Must I Go, an old woman tries to solve the unsolvable puzzle that is life

Life is not a puzzle that can be solved, observes the narrator in the Beijing-born author’s slyly comic new novel.

Life is not a puzzle that can be solved, observes the narrator in the Beijing-born author’s slyly comic new novel.

30 Jul 2020 - 10:07AM
From Paul Theroux to the poet Basho, stories about journeys real and imagined for the frustrated traveller

One way of overcoming an absence of travel is by reading about it. Let these books of adventure, whether real or imagined, whisk you far away.

One way of overcoming an absence of travel is by reading about it. Let these books of adventure, whether real or imagined, whisk you far away.

10 Jul 2020 - 6:01PM
Review | Ants and dinosaurs as metaphor for China and US, interdependent but doomed to conflict, in Cixin Liu’s new sci-fi satire

In Chinese sci-fi writer Cixin Liu’s new book, ants and dinosaurs enter into a strange symbiotic relationship. It can be read as an allegory of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, or of the world’s two largest economies.

In Chinese sci-fi writer Cixin Liu’s new book, ants and dinosaurs enter into a strange symbiotic relationship. It can be read as an allegory of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, or of the world’s two largest economies.

22 May 2020 - 5:17AM
Review | If It Bleeds: Stephen King’s new collection of short stories explores age, death and talking rats

Older, wiser and not above a self-deprecating joke or two, the horror writer’s gilded late period continues with a collection of four works in If It Bleeds.

Older, wiser and not above a self-deprecating joke or two, the horror writer’s gilded late period continues with a collection of four works in If It Bleeds.

8 May 2020 - 12:09AM
‘Together and alone’: how reading is helping to unite a world under coronavirus lockdown

Book sales have increased by up to 400 per cent with dystopian fiction and heavyweight classics proving particularly popular.

Book sales have increased by up to 400 per cent with dystopian fiction and heavyweight classics proving particularly popular.

24 Apr 2020 - 7:14PM