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

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.

10 Aug 2020 - 10:38AM

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.

15 Feb 2020 - 8:00PM

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.

5 Dec 2019 - 6:15PM

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
Chinese-American writer H.T. Tsiang’s novel The Hanging on Union Square is now a Penguin Classic

The poet, activist, author and actor’s roller-coaster life is being re-examined along with his 1935 novel, The Hanging on Union Square, now republished as a Penguin Classic.

31 Aug 2019 - 10:11PM

The poet, activist, author and actor’s roller-coaster life is being re-examined along with his 1935 novel, The Hanging on Union Square, now republished as a Penguin Classic.

Chinese-American writer H.T. Tsiang’s novel The Hanging on Union Square is now a Penguin Classic
Review | Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte brings Cervantes’ epic Don Quixote into the modern age

An ever playful, layered retelling of the tragi-comedy sees the delusional Don Quixote reborn as an ageing Indian salesman tilting at reality television.

24 Aug 2019 - 3:45AM

An ever playful, layered retelling of the tragi-comedy sees the delusional Don Quixote reborn as an ageing Indian salesman tilting at reality television.

Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte brings Cervantes’ epic Don Quixote into the modern age
Review | The Dragon Republic: R.F. Kuang’s follow-up to The Poppy War unites China’s bloody history with epic fantasy

R.F. Kuang’s second book picks up where the first left off, with heroine Rin on the run.

23 Aug 2019 - 2:49AM

R.F. Kuang’s second book picks up where the first left off, with heroine Rin on the run.

The Dragon Republic: R.F. Kuang’s follow-up to The Poppy War unites China’s bloody history with epic fantasy
Liu Cixin’s sci-fi masterpiece, the Three-Body Problem trilogy, gets a mind-boggling fanfic sequel

The Redemption of Time, by Baoshu, transports Liu’s characters into a new universe.

1 Aug 2019 - 11:11PM

The Redemption of Time, by Baoshu, transports Liu’s characters into a new universe.

Liu Cixin’s sci-fi masterpiece, the Three-Body Problem trilogy, gets a mind-boggling fanfic sequel
Review | Exhalation by Ted Chiang: new collection of sci-fi short stories explores human relationships

Exhalation by Ted Chiang includes nine tales, most of them masterpieces while a couple don’t quite hit the mark.

25 Jul 2019 - 10:39AM

Exhalation by Ted Chiang includes nine tales, most of them masterpieces while a couple don’t quite hit the mark.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang: new collection of sci-fi short stories explores human relationships
Nine of the best books to read this summer, wherever you go on holiday

Find answers to existential questions, learn how to arm yourself in the fight against climate change and explore the world beneath your feet, all in the pages of a book.

14 Jul 2019 - 3:05PM

Find answers to existential questions, learn how to arm yourself in the fight against climate change and explore the world beneath your feet, all in the pages of a book.

Nine of the best books to read this summer, wherever you go on holiday
Maoism’s inherent contradictions unpacked in China scholar Julia Lovell’s new book

Mao Zedong was a vehemently autocratic leader yet he compelled his Red Guards to dismantle the party that he himself had built. Rebels and regimes across the globe have remade Maoism in their own disparate images.

15 Jun 2019 - 3:32PM

Mao Zedong was a vehemently autocratic leader yet he compelled his Red Guards to dismantle the party that he himself had built. Rebels and regimes across the globe have remade Maoism in their own disparate images.

Maoism’s inherent contradictions unpacked in China scholar Julia Lovell’s new book
Review | E.L. James’ The Mister: absurd erotica that verges on uncomfortable

The charmingly affable writer keeps it kinky with yet another hanky-spanky page turner that ventures away from the Fifty Shades universe, although not too far.

9 May 2019 - 7:00PM

The charmingly affable writer keeps it kinky with yet another hanky-spanky page turner that ventures away from the Fifty Shades universe, although not too far.

E.L. James’ The Mister: absurd erotica that verges on uncomfortable
Review | Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me: a science-fiction soap opera that might be hard to compute

Author’s 15th novel shows what happens when artificial intelligence fails to comprehend human stupidity

20 Apr 2019 - 5:34PM

Author’s 15th novel shows what happens when artificial intelligence fails to comprehend human stupidity

Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me: a science-fiction soap opera that might be hard to compute
Hong Kong is ‘one of the unhappiest places I have been to’: British writer Rajeev Balasubramanyam

The British writer, whose latest novel, Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss, is out now, believes ‘people come to Hong Kong for one reason. To make money. And everyone is unhappy’.

14 Apr 2019 - 2:34AM

The British writer, whose latest novel, Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss, is out now, believes ‘people come to Hong Kong for one reason. To make money. And everyone is unhappy’.

Hong Kong is ‘one of the unhappiest places I have been to’: British writer Rajeev Balasubramanyam