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Daniel James

Student launches new edition of debut novel

Published on: 19 May 2022

A Newcastle University PhD student is set to launch his debut novel with help from a Booker Prize-shortlisted author at a special event.

Fact and fiction

Daniel James, a Doctoral candidate in the University’s’ School of English Literature, Language, and Linguistics (SELLL), will be at Newcastle City Library on Sunday 22nd May for the launch of The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas.

He will be joined by Scotland’s Booker nominated author Graeme Macrae Burnet (His Bloody Project, Case Study) for an event titled ‘Between Fact and Fiction’.

Daniel, of Cullercoats, North Tyneside, was shortlisted for a national award in 2019, and returns this May with a new special edition of his critically-acclaimed novel, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas, about a famously reclusive British artist who vanished at the height of his fame.

Macrae Burnet saw his bestselling novel His Bloody Project, about a murder in the Scottish Highlands, shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2016. His latest novel, Case Study, is based on the life of controversial Darlington-born psychiatrist Collins Braithwaite, and blends biography with diaries entries from a patient who believes her sister was driven to suicide.

The authors will explore the relationship between fact and fiction in their latest novels – both of which are inspired by real events.

Daniel James by Inga Hillens


Daniel said: “I’m really looking forward to talking to Graeme about the parallels and differences between our novels and how we each explore the special relationship between fact and fiction. I was in Glasgow for Graeme’s launch last year and it’s a pleasure to welcome him to Newcastle this May. This will be a homecoming event for me and a perfect way to mark the release of my new book.”

The new special edition of James’s novel features original artworks, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, handwritten notes, illustrations, and more, to create a unique literary labyrinth and a startingly original novel that puts the reader in the role of detective. The book follows the life of enigmatic artist Ezra Maas, a contemporary of Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol, who disappeared in one of the art world’s biggest mysteries. 

Macrae Burnet, who is based in Glasgow, added: “I'm very excited to be returning to Newcastle to discuss my new novel Case Study and try to navigate the debatable lands between fact and fiction with fellow traveller, Daniel James.”

Between Fact and Fiction will take place at Newcastle City Library on Sunday 22 May from 4pm to 6pm.

Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance.

Daniel James is an author and journalist from Newcastle upon Tyne. His debut novel, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas, was critically acclaimed on its release and shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. A journalist for a decade, Daniel was a finalist for the Young UK News Writer of the Year award, before going on to work as a senior reporter on a daily newspaper and feature writer for a number of major arts and culture magazines. His first novel was based on the life of reclusive artist Ezra Maas whose disappearance was considered one of the art world's biggest mysteries. A definitive, special edition of The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas featuring artworks, photographs, and a range of other new material, is published by Valley Press.


Adapted with thanks to Valley Press


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