The formal biography from the Salt web-site follows below, but, on a personal note, having been James’s English teacher and tutor for four years, and thus one of the first to read his work, I want to trumpet forth the enormous pride of the English Department in having James now teaching with us, a few years after being one of our finest ever students. James would acknowledge, I am sure, the precedent of an older OC, James Harpur, (indeed James and I attended the London launch of James Harpur’s fifth volume of poetry in September) but might blush at my quoting the words of one of Britain’s leading poets, Ian Duhig, who wrote of ‘Sins of the Leopard’: “It is an astonishingly accomplished debut of a poet who will surely take his place among the very best of his generation.”
James Brookes was born in 1986 and grew up in rural Sussex, a few minutes’ walk from Shelley’s boyhood home of Field Place. In 1999 he won the top academic scholarship to Cranleigh School in Surrey, going from there to read English and Creative Writing at Warwick University, where he was senior student editor of the Warwick Review, and to postgraduate study at the College of Law. He received a major Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2009 and his pamphlet The English Sweats was published by Pighog Press in the same year. His work has appeared in a wide variety of places including Poetry Review, The Rialto, Horizon Review, The White Review, The Wolf, the Swedish journal Signum and on a church pew in Taunton, Somerset. He has been invited to read at the Cuisle Festival in Limerick and the Poetry Hearings Festival in Berlin, as well as the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford and the Ledbury Poetry Festival. In 2011 he was awarded a Hawthornden International Writer’s Fellowship. He has returned to Cranleigh, where he is currently the Williams Librarian and also teaches English and History. He lives there with his fiancée, the poet and critic Charlotte Newman.