James McNamara

Lecturer in Film & Media Studies

James McNamara


James McNamara is a writer / creator for television and a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Recent industry work includes developing and writing original television dramas for Sony Pictures/Playmaker and Goalpost Pictures, and writers’ rooms for the Academy Award-winning See Saw Films, Matchbox Pictures/NBC Universal, Foxtel, ABC, and Endemol Shine. McNamara has also consulted on feature films for Porchlight Films, Icon Film Distribution, and Fox Searchlight Pictures. For the theater, McNamara co-wrote Radio With Pictures, which played at the Sydney Opera House, and he trained with the Bell Shakespeare Company, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and the Second City. As a screenwriter, he was recently named a BAFTA LA Newcomer.

McNamara’s creative practice, teaching, and research focus on literary adaptations, with a particular interest in Shakespeare. His essays and literary criticism have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator and Australian Book Review, where he sits on the editorial advisory board. In 2018, he was guest editor of ABR’s film and television special issue, and he received the Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship, one of Australia’s major awards for cultural criticism, for his work on early 21st-century US cable drama. Prior to moving into the film industry, McNamara was a trial lawyer at an international law firm.


  • Ph.D. English Language and LiteratureUniversity of Oxford
  • Grad. Dip. ScreenwritingAustralian Film Television and Radio School
  • LL.B. LawUniversity of Western Australia
  • B.A. EnglishUniversity of Western Australia