23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Cormac James
© Ali Ghandtschi

Cormac James

Cormac James was born in 1971 in Cork, Ireland. He studied English literature at Trinity College Dublin and graduated with a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. His stories were first published in »Columbia«, »Guernica«, »AGNI«, »Phoenix Irish Short Stories« and »The Dublin Review«.

Published in 2000, his first novel »Track and Field« is set during the Irish civil war. Set in the 1850s, »The Surfacing« (2016) also tackles a historical theme. Hoping to escape the drudgery of family life by going to sea, Lieutenant Morgan, second-in-command of the »Impetus«, and his crew are searching for Franklin’s expedition, which went missing some years previously while traversing an unchartered part of the Northwest Passage, in search of a shorter maritime route to Asia. Also on board is a pregnant stowaway, who eventually gives birth en route. James uses the strange allure of the Arctic and extreme situation as a backdrop for this psychological drama to masterful effect: threatened by the mortal dangers surrounding them, the seafarers witness the birth of a child born not out of love, but out of an act of tolerance. »The Surfacing« is an unusual blend of historical reportage, literary fiction and high adventure, and an emotionally charged tale of survival and philosophical observations. »›The Surfacing‹ is a moving reminder that some of the biggest journeys in life don’t involve going anywhere at all.« (»Financial Times«). To date it has been translated into Slovakian, Dutch and Romanian.

Mostly Cormac James works as a writer and translator in England and Poland, among other places. He has lived in Montpellier with his wife and son for over 15 years.


Track and Field
New Island Books
Dublin, 2000
The Surfacing
Sandstone Press
Dingwall, 2016