James MacManus was born in London in 1943, educated at Westminster School and graduated from St Andrews University in 1966.He broke his Guardian reading parents’ hearts when he joined the Daily Express in Manchester as a trainee reporter that year. He redeemed himself when he moved to The Guardian in 1972, working first as a reporter in the London office and then as a foreign correspondent in France, Africa and the Middle East for twelve years. The bulk of this time was spent in what was then Rhodesia where he was based as the Guardian’s Africa correspondent from 1974-80. In 1985 he joined the Diplomatic staff of the Daily Telegraph in London.
He joined the Times in November 1992 as Assistant Editor (Home) and took over as Managing Editor of The Times in September 1996.
He became Managing Director of The Times Supplements in April 1997, a company that published the Times Educational Supplement, the Times Higher Education Supplement and the Times Literary Supplement (TLS).
At the end of 2005 James was appointed Executive Director of News International, overseeing the Corporate Affairs Department and also Managing Director of the Times Literary Supplement.
Following heart surgery in 2009 James relinquished many of his Corporate Affairs duties to concentrate on speech writing and managing the TLS.
In 2006 after a gestation of almost 20 years a film script James had written finally made it to the screen under the title The Children of Huang Shi. The film takes place at the height of the Sino-Japanese war in the 1940s and tells the story of 65 Chinese school children who were recued from certain death by George Hogg, a young Englishman who had been caught up in the conflict. To escape the advancing Japanese forces in the bitter winter of 1944 Hogg took the children in a convoy of mule carts over the highest mountains in China to Shandan in the remote North West. There he died in 1945 of tetanus aged 30. MacManus heard about Hogg’s brief and heroic life while working in Beijing as a reporter in 1985 and his subsequent news story in a London paper attracted the attention of Hollywood. The film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and directed by Roger Spottiswoode was released in 2006. James MacManus has also written a book about Hogg’s life called ‘Ocean Devil’ which was published in March 2008.
James has twice been married and has three children.
Books:Ike and Kay, June 2018
Sleep In Peace Tonight, October 2014
Black Venus, May 2013
The Language Of The Sea, May 2011