Who Is Peter James?

International best-selling crime thriller novelist published in 36 languages  
Biography Interests Career Awards




Brighton, Sussex, England


Charterhouse, then Ravensbourne Film School.



My mother, Cornelia James (d.)1999 was Glovemaker to Her Majesty the Queen running the business with my late father who was a chartered accountant. The firm is today run by my sister, Genevieve and her husband, and still supplies the Royal Family: www.corneliajames.com. There is a tenuous but classy link between gloves and one particularly great writer (not that I would dare put myself in his league): Shakespeare's father was a glove maker!


I have a huge love of animals. Current headcount includes Oscar, a rescue Labrador/something cross who was found abandoned on the streets of Havant, Spook, a young labradoodle who is very bouncy and tries her very best to please, Cosmo, a grey cat who has the dogs well under his control and even comes on walks with us. Six hens, including two that we reared from pre-fertilised eggs after the original hens went broody, and one that we adopted from a friend, called Betsy, who is a real character and gives us great eggs! We have recently added five gorgeous alpacas to our expanding zoo, they are such inquisitive animals and we just love them! Then there is a selection of small furries and fish… indoor tropical fish and some huge carp outside in the lake.



I lived for 10 years in a very haunted Georgian manor house, near Ditchling, Sussex. It was converted from a monastery built on the site of Roman ruins, and had the ghost of a Centurion, a monk, a baby and a nasty, man-hating grey lady! Then moved to a group of converted farm buildings on a historic site outside Lewes, which were occupied by a whole bunch of ghosts of victims of the Battle of Lewes, but they were politely evicted. My Sussex home is now a Victorian rectory and so far ghost-free, as is my apartment in Notting Hill, London, on the site of a former cinema. No spectral screenings yet during the night, but always hoping...

Made publishing history:

In 1994, in addition to conventional print publishing, Penguin published my novel, Host, on two floppy discs, and it is now in the Science Museum as the world’s first electronic novel. It caused huge controversy, I was pilloried on the Radio 4 Today Programme for attempting to destroy the novel, and I was front page news on many papers around the globe, all equally furious! In the immediate following years I became a media spokesperson for the electronic publishing age, and in 1996 found myself as a keynote speaker at a conference at UCLA on the future of reading, alongside (gulp) Steve Jobs and the CEO of Time Warner!



I am patron of Brighton and Hove Samaritans, patron of Relate Sussex, patron of Brighton & Hove Independant Mediation Service (BHIMS), joint patron of Neighbourhood Watch, nationwide, joint patron of Sussex Crimestoppers, patron of The Whitehawk Inn, joint patron of the Friends of Seaford Library, Vice President of The Old Police Cells Museum, Brighton, an Ambassador for Brighton University, Honorary Patron for the South Mid Sussex Community First Responders, a Martlets Hospice Champion, and patron of the Brighton Greyhound Owners Association Retired Greyhound Trust. I am an ambassador for Brighton University and Chairman of the Brighton & Hove Drugs Commission.

Other charities I actively support are The Sussex Community Foundation, The Backup Trust for Spinal Injuries, The Chichester Life Centre, the Book Trade Benevolent Society, The White Ribbon Campaign and Action Medical Research with my annual Peter James Golf Day.

I also support and work with The Reading Agency, a charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Because everything changes when we read.

After-Dinner Speaking:

I do – and enjoy - regular after-dinner speaking engagements. Recent engagements include the County Times Business Awards dinner, the Association of Legal Aid Solicitors' dinner, the Association of Private Investigators' annual dinner, the Sussex CID Ball, the Pan Macmillan Sales Conference dinner in Agra, India, the Martlets Hospice luncheon, the Lewes Rotary Club dinner, Brighton & Hove Rotary lunch, the Sussex Heritage Trust dinner, the Brighton and Hove Motor Club dinner dance. In addition I have given numerous speeches on cruise ships, and at literary festivals around the globe, including Dubai, Munich, Paris, Melbourne, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Antwerp, Toronto, Auckland, Milan, Barcelona, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.