My name is James Clammer and I write stories.

Some are for adults and some are for children.

I work in a winterproofed shed at the foot of the South Downs. It's tiny and sometimes the walls press in. Other times, though, it's an ocean liner, with thousands of cabins and theatres and engine-rooms to explore. If I'm lucky I get to meet people there — people from cities, from history, even people from the future. Often the corridors are empty and there isn't a soul aboard. I feel like there's a lot more of this liner to explore. It's a strange place, but I don't really want to be anywhere else.

Here are some things I've written.

Book cover, Insignificance by James Clammer Book cover, Insignificance by James Clammer, North American edition Book cover, Van Geen Betekenis by James Clammer, Dutch edition Insignificance-audiobook


Published by Galley Beggar Press.
Published in North America by Coach House Books.
Published in The Netherlands by Querido.

Audiobook available from Spiracle.

"Insignificance, James Clammer’s first novel for adults, unfurls over the course of a single day. Placing the reader right inside the head of its struggling narrator, it works double time, both as an act of empathy - a taste of the uncertainty and awkwardness of one vulnerable man, and his relationship with the world - and also as a tense, emotional and gripping drama."


“But for all the restless clamour of ideas he introduces, Insignificance remains a gripping and unsettling novel that takes a welcome swing at the state of the English soul, and marks James Clammer out as an ambitious and fiercely committed writer.”The Times Literary Supplement
“An impressive, uncompromising performance... it gives the inner reality of blue-collar life a respect and attention it rarely gets.”The Sunday Times
“Clammer’s first novel for adults is an impressive, moving and often troubling exploration of family tensions, mental illness, self-awareness and the consolations of religion.”Literary Review
“Clammer writes with languorous lyricism and wit... [and] sounds depthless dread beneath the thin crust of suburbia. Like Mrs Dalloway, [Insignificance] immerses us in the rush of a different life, the strangeness of another body. A slim book, it breathes deeply.”The Spectator
“The intensity of the close narrative voice, with its circlings and riffs, means [Insignificance] sinks deep into the reader’s consciousness.”The Critic
“We love the journey Clammer takes us on, we love the world we inhabit for the duration of the book, we love where Clammer urges us to look.”Bookmunch
Insignificance is a careful exploration of the isolation of one day, how seismic events and encounters intersect with the ongoing battle to simply make it through.”The Skinny
Insignificance is a short book at 186 pages but it is a rich, dense read. I read it twice and on the second time, marvelled at how well crafted it was; it is a book where every detail matters, where every sentence has been exquisitely shaped and polished.”The London Magazine

You can buy Insignificance from Galley Beggar Press.

Get the North American edition from Coach House Books.

Get the Dutch edition from Querido.

Book cover, Why I Went Back by James Clammer

Why I Went Back

Published by Andersen Press.

A few years ago my daughter's bike was stolen from outside our house. It was a small, pink, girl's bike – my daughter was still very young. Who could have taken such a thing, I wondered? How much could they have got for it? Around the same time, the Staffordshire Hoard, recently discovered, went on display at the British Museum. We had also received a spate of junk mail addressed to the house's previous owner. From those three elements — a stolen bike, a pile of junk mail, and some ancient artefacts — I made this novel.

Why I Went Back was nominated for the Carnegie Medial and longlisted for the Branford Boase Award.


“Extraordinary... tense, magical thriller"”Amanda Craig
“A beautiful, often staggering, portrayal of a breaking home.”Not Now Adulthood
“Gripping... A must read for all lovers of slightly fantastical urban fiction.”Jonas Herriot, librarian and chair, London's Youth Libraries Group
“Authentic and complex... Why I Went Back has fragments of fantasy and reality collide to bring this original tale of hope and freedom.”Blog of a Bookaholic

You can buy Why I Went Back from Hive.

Illustration of The Tread of Secret Kings by James Clammer

The Tread of Secret Kings

Commissioned by Visual Verse.

Responding to a haunting image by Wellcome Image Award winner Oliver Burston (aka Spooky Pooka).

You can read The Tread of Secret Kings online.

Book cover, Loving Kindness by James Clammer

Loving Kindness

Published by Galley Beggar Press.

“Sudden illumination: I could be a murderer!”

Book cover, Red Buttons by James Clammer

Red Buttons

Published by Galley Beggar Press.

Once on a seaside street, my wife and I saw a motorist run his car over an enormous gull. My wife went beserk and chased after the man, but he drove away looking shamefaced. I remembered that incident here.

Book cover, The Cruellne by James Clammer

The Cruellne

Published by Galley Beggar Press.

I had a dream about a grotesque creature being fed hotdogs. The next day I wrote this story.

Book cover, Refuge collection of short stories


Published by Galley Beggar Press and Salt.

Decorating a room, or a flat, is a ritual that couples often go through when they've decided to commit to each other. But occasionally things come along that put them to a much more difficult test.

Rollers is part of Refuge, a collection of short stories in aid of refugees. All proceeds to Medicins Sans Frontieres.

You can buy the Refuge collection from Salt Publishing.