James Hawes (author)

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James Hawes (born 1960) is a British novelist who has also written screen adaptations for two of his works.

Early life and education[edit]

Hawes grew up in Gloucestershire, Edinburgh and Shropshire. He took a First in German at Hertford College, Oxford, then did a postgrad year in theatre studies in Cardiff, Wales, which has been his base ever since. Having failed as an actor, he worked as an English teacher in Spain. In 1985–1986 he was in charge of CADW excavations at the now-UNESCO World Heritage site of Blaenavon Ironworks. Following this, he studied for a Ph.D. on Nietzsche and German literature 1900–1914 at University College, London in 1987-89. He lectured in German at Maynooth University (Ollscoil Mhá Nuad) in Ireland between 1989 and 1991 before doing so at Sheffield University and Swansea University.


Hawes has published six novels, two of which he has adapted as screenplays for movie productions. The first two, A White Merc with Fins (1996) and Rancid Aluminium (1997) were both Sunday Times bestsellers.

The Guardian praised Hawes as a satirist for his novels, Speak for England (2005) and My Little Armalite (2008). His Kafka biography, Excavating Kafka (2008), caused outrage in Germany[citation needed].

In 2008, James Hawes became Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. In 2012 he was promoted to Reader.[1] Among his former students there are Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon) and Catherine Chanter (The Well).

Englanders and Huns: The Culture Clash which Led to the First World War, published by Simon & Schuster, focused on the Anglo-German rivalry of the later nineteenth century. The book received positive reviews and was shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political Books of the Year. One chapter—on the long-forgotten murder of Queen Victoria's personal chef in Bonn in 1865—became the subject of an exhibition in the Bonn City Museum from May–August 2015.[citation needed]

His book The Shortest History of Germany (Old St.) was published in May 2017.[2]


  • A White Merc With Fins (1996)
  • Rancid Aluminium (1997 – screenplay 2000)
  • Dead Long Enough (2000 – screenplay 2005)
  • White Powder, Green Light (2002)
  • Speak for England (2005)[3]
  • My Little Armalite (2008)
  • Excavating Kafka (2008 – published in the United States as Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life)[4][5][6]
  • Englanders and Huns: The Culture Clash which Led to the First World War (2014)[7]
  • The Shortest History of Germany (2017)[8]


  1. ^ "Dr James Hawes". Oxford Brookes University.
  2. ^ J.C. (20 August 2017). "On almost every indicator, Germany's south is doing better than its north". The Economist.
  3. ^ Hickling, Alfred (8 January 2005). "All for empire". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Bayard, Louis (1 August 2008). "How Kafka-esque is Kafka?". Salon.
  5. ^ Alberge, Dalya (2 August 2008). "Franz Kafka's porn brought out of the closet". The Times.
  6. ^ Kavenna, Joanna (17 August 2008). "Franz Kafka, party animal". The Observer.
  7. ^ "Englanders and Huns: The Culture-Clash which Led to the First World War (Hardback)". Waterstones.
  8. ^ "The Shortest History of Germany". Old Street Publishing.

External links[edit]