James Runcie

Literary Birthday – 7 May – James Runcie

Happy Birthday, James Runcie, born 7 May 1959.


  1. I think all crime writing is written from within some kind of tradition. Whenever you write a story, even if it is set now, there is a limited number of stories available to you, whether it’s burglary or betrayal or blackmail. So I think you are always writing with this tone of the past and you either go with it or against it. You have to realise you are working with a tradition, then contribute your own version of it.
  2. I think one of the key things about crime fiction is what it does it tests its characters in the most extreme way. You might be able to test them in literary fiction, but in crime you are seeing how they behave against a background of violence, betrayal, disappointment and desperation. The key is to see how characters react in the furnace or crucible of that kind of atmosphere.
  3. I am more interested in the intricacies of character than plot. I think it has to be about the human heart. Fiction has to be more than a conjuring trick about people’s lives. Plot must be secondary to character. I am also interested in incredible prose.

James Runcie is a British writer, director, and literary curator. He is best known as the author of The Grantchester Mysteries. Runcie has also written the novels Canvey Island (2006), The Discovery of Chocolate (2001), The Colour of Heaven (2003), and East Fortune (2009). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Source for quotes/Source for image: James Runcie

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th May 2022