James grew up in Cheltenham, a town in a corner of rural England where the sheep-speckled hills roll endlessly into the distance, people wear tweed jackets unironically and neighborhoods are defined by which country pub you call your local (his is the Plough). Yes, his house has a thatched roof (and is older than the U.S.); yes, his high school had a Harry Potter–style house system (he was in the Gryffindor equivalent, obviously); and yes, people refer to the area as “The Shire” without even intending the Lord of the Rings reference.
With four siblings — all older, all girls — James learned early on to jump on any opportunity when it arose, whether that meant taking the first and largest helping at dinner before there was none left, fighting for the front seat in the ride to school or finding the only things he could beat his extraordinarily talented sisters at and running with them (they were, bizarrely, math and squash). He became pretty handy at both but had objectively peaked by the age of about 14. When he somehow landed a scholarship to Harvard University, he jumped on that opportunity too, and before he knew it was thrown into a world of watery beer and cheese-covered everything. A self-proclaimed carbivore, James misses nothing about his homeland so much as plain crackers, the savory goodness of Marmite on toast and acceptance of his addiction to crisps. Oh, and the BBC. If you get him started on Sherlock, he’ll never shut up.
James spent most of his college years arguing about politics, Black Mirror–inspired futurism and whether rugby is a better sport than football — it is — with roommates who grew remarkably tolerant of his accent. He has a love of board games and traveling — he has just Australia and Antarctica to go to complete the continental bingo on his world scratch-map. James started out as a reporting intern, led the 2018 Around the World series, and is now managing OZY’s marketing efforts (along with the occasional reporting comeback piece).