James McNamara is a television writer and a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. McNamara is the creator / showrunner of THE ARTFUL DODGER, an international premium character drama for Disney+, Sony Pictures Television, and Hulu. He is also the creator, head writer, and an executive producer of COOPER, an international television drama for Goalpost Pictures and Quizzical Pictures that was recently selected for France’s premier television festival, Series Mania. Additionally, McNamara wrote and directed an audio comedy series narrated by Jim Jefferies for Princess Pictures and Audible. Other television work includes writers’ rooms for the Academy Award-winning See Saw Films, Matchbox Pictures / NBC Universal, Foxtel, ABC, and Endemol Shine. McNamara has consulted on feature films for Porchlight Films, Icon Film Distribution, and Fox Searchlight Pictures, and has twice been named an “international rising star” by BAFTA LA.
A practitioner-scholar, McNamara’s creative practice, teaching, and research focus on adaptation studies, with a particular interest in screen adaptations of Shakespeare and other Renaissance drama. He is affiliated faculty in UCSB’s Early Modern Center within the Department of English and a former Guest Artist in dramatic writing in UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance. In 2022-23, McNamara held a Visiting Fellowship in the Department of English at the University of Sydney. Recent scholarly work includes a keynote presentation on television adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays at the Early Modern Center’s Winter 2022 conference, an invited paper at UCSB’s Graduate Center for Literary Research’s “Translations Across Media” workshop, and acceptance to the Shakespeare Association of America’s Articles-in-Progress Practicum.
McNamara’s criticism has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, and Australian Book Review, where he is a past member of 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 television. Prior to coming to UCSB, McNamara was the Junior Dean of Pembroke College, University of Oxford.