James Whitman is an author, playwright and creative writing tutor. He specialises in collaborating with artists and community groups, creating work that is accessible, authentic and innovative.
In 2016, he was a finalist in the Journal Culture Awards (Best Event) and was long listed in the Saboteur Awards (Best Novella), both as part of Grafters Gables. Working with street artist, Frank Styles, James wrote a novella and a short play that told the stories behind a series of spray-painted murals. The paintings and stories portray characters and events from Hendon’s colourful past, including a famous acrobat, a local strongman and Cpt. George Maling (who was awarded the VC during the First World War).
Last year, James ran a unique audio drama project called Mackem Craic. In collaboration with Theatre Space NE and Jay Sykes, James worked with local schools and community groups to create the pilot episode of a mock phone-in show. Featuring writing and performances by workshop participants, the project was a fantastic opportunity for people to experience the creation of audio drama, from writing to broadcast.
Most recently, James worked with fine artist, Stephanie Smith, and Wearside Women in Need to create a collection of short stories portraying the impact of domestic abuse. James met with several survivors of abusive relationships, and used their stories as the basis for four monologues, performed at Sunderland Minster at the launch of Mapping Armageddon.
In addition to writing and project work, James also runs creative writing workshops throughout the north-east of England. He leads a Cuckoo Young Writers group at The Word in South Shields, and regularly runs workshops for the Cultural Spring and other arts organisations, exploring everything from flash fiction to writing for computer games.
Before he became a writer, James worked in Youth Offending Teams and children’s homes for over thirteen years. He lives in Sunderland, and has two sons who regularly beat him at board games.