James W. Wood

I was born in Paisley, Scotland, and moved around the UK before emigrating to Canada at the age of eight. Returning to the UK when I was fourteen, I finished secondary education in Scotland then won a place to study English at Cambridge, where my first book was published with financial support from the University and I undertook a national reading tour.

After Cambridge, I won a scholarship to work with Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Oxford Professor of Poetry Sir Geoffrey Hill. This was an enormous honour and remains among the most stimulating experiences I have had.

Tiring of the academic environment, I began work as a copywriter in Paris, and a 20-year career as a copywriter and content strategist followed, which took me all over Africa, the US, Europe, Central America and Asia.

After many years of publishing in little magazines and newspapers, my second book, The Theory of Everything, was picked up by HappenStance Press in Scotland and published in 2006. This was followed by Inextinguishable in 2008, which was long-listed for the Michael Marks Award by the British Library and the Callum MacDonald Award by the Scottish Poetry Library. My first thriller, Stealing Fire, followed in 2011. Stealing Fire sold two print runs in six weeks and was selected for the Rome Film Festival in 2011, garnered positive reviews, and attracted interest from ten film production companies.

My first full-length collection of poems, The Anvil’s Prayer was published by Ward/Wood Publishing (no relation!) in 2013, followed by The Emigrant’s Farewell, published by The High Window Press in Leeds, UK, in 2016. The Emigrant’s Farewell was nominated for the Saboteur Award for best book of poetry, 2016.

In 2018, I was given a career-level Writer’s Award from the British Columbia Arts Council in recognition of my career to date and work in progress. Building a Kingdom, my new and selected poems, was published by The High Window Press in September 2019 and has been nominated for the 2019 T.S. Eliot Award for Poetry in the UK. In 2021, I was a finalist in the ScreenCraft Story to Screen Award, and the Strands International Short Fiction Prize, and shortlisted for the Wells Literature Award in the UK. In 2022, my comic farce, "By Any Other Name", will appear via Terror House Publishing in the US and Europe.