James is a writer and critic for The Economist, 1843 magazine, and others. He was awarded the Telegraph/Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize in 2019. He graduated with a First in English from Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was awarded a Rupert Murdoch Journalism Scholarship, a Pembroke College Prize for outstanding Finals results, and a Santander Academic Travel Award, which he used to enrol as a visiting student on the creative writing module at New York University's Paris campus. He deputy edited The Oxford Student, and edited The Isis, which was subsequently nominated for the 'Best Website' Award at the Guardian Student Media Awards. He then worked at The Economist for a year, before reading for an MPhil in Renaissance Literature at Homerton College, Cambridge. He graduated with a Distinction, and was awarded the Homerton College Master's Prize for academic achievement. He also edits for The King's Review, Cambridge University's most prestigious postgraduate journal.