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

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.

24 Dec 2020 - 10:59AM

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.

How do people celebrate Christmas and the festive season around the world?
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?

23 Dec 2020 - 6:16AM

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?

What does our appetite for psychological thrillers say about the realities of the 21st century life?
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.

17 Dec 2020 - 5:19PM

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

Christmas in the time of coronavirus: how Dickens’ classic tales take on new connotations
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.

16 Nov 2020 - 4:15PM

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.

How Much of These Hills is Gold: C Pam Zhang’s novel is a Chinese take on the American western
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.

7 Nov 2020 - 12:25PM

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.

The future of Hong Kong is uncertain and unpredictable, says ‘global historian’ Jeffrey Wasserstrom
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’.

31 Oct 2020 - 1:41PM

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

Author Jhumpa Lahiri on why writing in Italian is like ‘falling in love’
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.

20 Oct 2020 - 2:51PM

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.

What you should know about loneliness, and how to overcome it
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.

20 Sep 2020 - 5:21PM

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.

Fashion in fiction, from Sherlock Holmes’ deerstalker to Patrick Bateman’s designer name-dropping
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.

20 Oct 2020 - 11:06AM

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.

Malaysian comedian behind viral Uncle Roger video on YouTube ‘super grateful’ people love his work
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.

24 Aug 2020 - 11:42AM

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.

The Bird in the Bamboo Cage: Hazel Gaynor’s novel explores the devastation of a Japanese internment camp
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.

5 Nov 2020 - 9:28PM

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.

80 years of Vietnam’s fraught history distilled in poet’s debut novel The Mountains Sing
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.

30 Jul 2020 - 10:07AM

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

In Yiyun Li’s Must I Go, an old woman tries to solve the unsolvable puzzle that is life
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.

10 Jul 2020 - 6:01PM

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.

From Paul Theroux to the poet Basho, stories about journeys real and imagined for the frustrated traveller
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.

22 May 2020 - 5:17AM

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.

Ants and dinosaurs as metaphor for China and US, interdependent but doomed to conflict, in Cixin Liu’s new sci-fi satire
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.

8 May 2020 - 12:09AM

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.

If It Bleeds: Stephen King’s new collection of short stories explores age, death and talking rats
‘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.

24 Apr 2020 - 7:14PM

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

‘Together and alone’: how reading is helping to unite a world under coronavirus lockdown
Review | The Mirror & the Light: fitting conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s epic Thomas Cromwell trilogy

Having won the Man Booker prize for both of the first two books in the trilogy, can Mantel pull off a hat trick?

19 Mar 2020 - 12:20AM

Having won the Man Booker prize for both of the first two books in the trilogy, can Mantel pull off a hat trick?

The Mirror & the Light: fitting conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s epic Thomas Cromwell trilogy
Review | Yan Lianke’s Three Brothers honours his family and the struggle to survive in mid-20th century China

Three Brothers is a memoir of the author’s father and uncles, with a portrait of the young Yan woven in between.

8 Mar 2020 - 1:04PM

Three Brothers is a memoir of the author’s father and uncles, with a portrait of the young Yan woven in between.

Yan Lianke’s Three Brothers honours his family and the struggle to survive in mid-20th century China
Review | Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982: the book that became a symbol of South Korea’s Me Too movement

First published in 2016, Cho Nam-joo’s novel gave voice to women silenced by the country’s inherent misogyny.

7 Mar 2020 - 2:46AM

First published in 2016, Cho Nam-joo’s novel gave voice to women silenced by the country’s inherent misogyny.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982: the book that became a symbol of South Korea’s Me Too movement
Review | Meng Jin’s debut novel Little Gods is not your typical Chinese immigrant story

The Shanghai-born, San Francisco-based author’s audacious book feels deeply personal, taking its readers back in time to the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

21 Oct 2020 - 5:13PM

The Shanghai-born, San Francisco-based author’s audacious book feels deeply personal, taking its readers back in time to the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Meng Jin’s debut novel Little Gods is not your typical Chinese immigrant story
Review | William Gibson’s apocalyptic new novel Agency imagines a future as frightening as our own

The book’s protagonists communicate across different realities, technologies and time periods to prevent a world-ending catastrophe.

28 Jan 2020 - 8:30PM

The book’s protagonists communicate across different realities, technologies and time periods to prevent a world-ending catastrophe.

William Gibson’s apocalyptic new novel Agency imagines a future as frightening as our own
The emotional and economic ties between mothers and their domestic helpers

Megan K. Stack’s memoir Women’s Work takes an unflinching look at the relationship between an expat journalist and the Asian migrant women who helped raise her children.

20 Jan 2020 - 10:48AM

Megan K. Stack’s memoir Women’s Work takes an unflinching look at the relationship between an expat journalist and the Asian migrant women who helped raise her children.

The emotional and economic ties between mothers and their domestic helpers
Asian authors have written some of the most anticipated books of 2020 – Meng Jin’s Little Gods is a contender for book of the year

Among the most eagerly awaited books of 2020 are titles from China’s Meng Jin, Yan Lianke and Marie Lu, as well as from names including Hilary Mantel and Elena Ferrante.

4 Jan 2020 - 4:02AM

Among the most eagerly awaited books of 2020 are titles from China’s Meng Jin, Yan Lianke and Marie Lu, as well as from names including Hilary Mantel and Elena Ferrante.

Asian authors have written some of the most anticipated books of 2020 – Meng Jin’s Little Gods is a contender for book of the year
From Margaret Atwood to Hanya Yanagihara: the best books of the 2010s, a decade in review

Paper books won the battle with e-books and the international limelight shone on Asian authors.

24 Dec 2019 - 9:54AM

Paper books won the battle with e-books and the international limelight shone on Asian authors.

From Margaret Atwood to Hanya Yanagihara: the best books of the 2010s, a decade in review
Review | Blood Heir: Amélie Wen Zhao’s debut pulled for being ‘racist’ has been published

The Beijing-born writer’s novel was mired in controversy because of her depictions of slavery, which upset some African-Americans early readers.

13 Dec 2019 - 11:44AM

The Beijing-born writer’s novel was mired in controversy because of her depictions of slavery, which upset some African-Americans early readers.

Blood Heir: Amélie Wen Zhao’s debut pulled for being ‘racist’ has been published
How Hong Kong poet Mary Jean Chan is wowing Britain’s literary circles with first collection, Flèche

Since moving to London, Chan has been named among the top 10 most influential BAME writers in Britain. In 2017, aged 27, she became the youngest shortlisted nominee for Forward Prize for a single poem.

14 Dec 2020 - 10:56AM

Since moving to London, Chan has been named among the top 10 most influential BAME writers in Britain. In 2017, aged 27, she became the youngest shortlisted nominee for Forward Prize for a single poem.

How Hong Kong poet Mary Jean Chan is wowing Britain’s literary circles with first collection, Flèche
Review | The Supernova Era cements Cixin Liu’s position as leader of the sci-fi pack

Absorbing story of children ruling China after adults die out in a cosmic event looks at the perils of play and has echoes in today’s generational conflicts.

19 May 2020 - 11:17AM

Absorbing story of children ruling China after adults die out in a cosmic event looks at the perils of play and has echoes in today’s generational conflicts.

The Supernova Era cements Cixin Liu’s position as leader of the sci-fi pack
Review | Drugs, celebrity spats, rock ’n’ roll: Elton John’s Me is a lighthearted yet sombre look at an extraordinary life

The British pop icon’s life has always been an open book but his roller-coaster of an autobiography is still worth a read.

25 Oct 2019 - 2:20PM

The British pop icon’s life has always been an open book but his roller-coaster of an autobiography is still worth a read.

Drugs, celebrity spats, rock ’n’ roll: Elton John’s Me is a lighthearted yet sombre look at an extraordinary life
Post-partum depression: a Chinese-Canadian mother’s graphic memoir demystifies the mood disorder

In Dear Scarlet, Chinese-Canadian author Teresa Wong shares her experience with the ‘black cloud’ that accompanies postpartum mood disorders.

14 Sep 2019 - 9:41PM

In Dear Scarlet, Chinese-Canadian author Teresa Wong shares her experience with the ‘black cloud’ that accompanies postpartum mood disorders.

Post-partum depression: a Chinese-Canadian mother’s graphic memoir demystifies the mood disorder
Review | The Testaments, sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, is well worth the 34-year wait

Few sequels have been as hotly anticipated – or as timely – as this long-awaited novel, and the follow-up to Atwood’s 1985 dystopian masterpiece is a worthy second instalment.

10 Sep 2019 - 6:26PM

Few sequels have been as hotly anticipated – or as timely – as this long-awaited novel, and the follow-up to Atwood’s 1985 dystopian masterpiece is a worthy second instalment.

The Testaments, sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, is well worth the 34-year wait