James Campbell (author)

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James Campbell (born 5 June 1951) is a Scottish writer.



Campbell was born in Croftfoot, on the southside of Glasgow. [1] He left school at the age of fifteen to become an apprentice printer. [2] After hitchhiking through Europe, Israel and North Africa, [3] he studied to gain acceptance to the University of Edinburgh (1974–78). On graduating, he immediately became editor of the New Edinburgh Review (1978–82). [4] His first book, Invisible Country: A Journey Through Scotland, was published in 1984. Two years later, Campbell published Gate Fever, “based on a year’s acquaintance with the prisoners and staff of Lewes Prison’s C Wing”. [5]

Between 1991 and 1999, he wrote three books linked in theme: Talking at the Gates, Paris Interzone: Richard Wright, Lolita, Boris Vian and Others on the Left Bank, and This Is the Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris. In 1993, Campbell’s one-man play The Midnight Hour, about a night in the life of James Baldwin, was staged at Freedom Theatre, Philadelphia, with Reggie Montgomery in the role of Baldwin. [6]

Campbell lives in London where he works for the Times Literary Supplement. Since 1998, he has written the weekly NB column on the back page of the TLS, under the pen-name “J.C.”.


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  1. Williams, Bob (7 September 2008). "A review of Syncopations: Beats, New Yorkers, and Writers in the Dark by James Campbell". The Compulsive Reader. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  2. "My Theft". Areté. Spring/Summer 2018.
  3. "Philosophy Lesson". Areté. Autumn 2018.
  4. Campbell, James (1991). Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin. Faber. ISBN   978-0571245741.
  5. Campbell, James (1986). Gate Fever (Preface) . Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN   978-0297788560.
  6. "Historic Photos and Performance Gallery". New Freedom Theatre. Retrieved 1 November 2019.