About Me

James McGirk

My writing has appeared or will appear soon in TIME, WIRED, Amazon Kindle Singles, The Chronicle of Higher Education,  Oxford American (online), The Paris Review (online), This Land Press, Oklahoma Today, Art Focus Oklahoma, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast and other publications. See ‘publications‘ for details. Amazon Author Page.
Currently Instructor in English at Northeastern State University, teaching composition, creative writing and Travel and Adventure writing.
As a geopolitical analyst, my experience includes Iran-Israel relations for a computer game company, geopolitical risk analysis for a geopolitical volatility hedge fund, open source data analysis for the United Nations Development Programme and BP, and my current position where I contribute to and occasionally supervise scenarios for online consultancy Wikistrat.

9 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. I liked your Daily Beast essay, although some of your fans seem to think that the only books on most Republicans’ shelves are Atlas Shrugged and Mein Kampf bracketing Sean Hannity’s latest. I’d vote for Walker Percy, Willa Cather, John Updike, Mark Helprin, and the underappreciated Paul Lake (at least two on that list are alive). Maybe the problem is that all of our current self-conscious literary fiction has too narrow a focus and is too captive to graduate school fashions. Mark Goldblatt had some thoughts on this matter.

    Thanks for your insights.

    Jon-Mark Patterson
    Loveland, CO

    1. Apologies if you receive this twice (wasn’t sure if it sent you one yesterday since I didn’t respond to your comment)

      Dear Jon-Mark,

      Thank you so much for reading my essay and for your suggestions, which I’ll be sure to read. And you’re absolutely right about graduate school, although I prefer to think of it as a supply-side issue: too many of us wannabe novelists flooding the markets, forcing publishers to look at us as a way to fill particular niche rather than judging us on literary merit… As for the fans, please forgive them. The elections have stirred them up.

      James McGirk
      Ridgewood, NY

  2. Hi James, really like your articles. Read your recent scenario on Wikistrat as well and its very thought provoking.

    Wondering if you could help me find some resources for research, I’m interested in getting better in non fiction writing. Economics background working in IT, so need to work on a more clear and concise writing style.


    Iqaluit, Nunavut

    1. Angad,

      Thank you for reading my articles! I’ll be sure to look out for your Wikistrat contributions. You must have a unique perspective on this issue, given that you live in Nunavut.

      I would be happy to help. The most basic advice is to write as much as possible and to read as many different types of writing as you can. Even things you don’t like. Especially things you don’t like.

      Other than that, I try to make my sentences as short possible. That’s good way to clean up your writing. Read things out loud. Cut out everything in a sentence that doesn’t need to be there. Try playing around with the rhythm of your sentences. See what happens if you use a mixture of long and short sentences.

      Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a good resource: http://www.stephenking.com/library/nonfiction/on_writing:_a_memoir_of_the_craft.html

      So is George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

      Feel free to ask me specific questions if you like,


  3. Thanks for writing about Ben Lerner. As the publisher of LEAVING THE ATOCHA station, I think you would have wanted to contact me about this story. I would have been happy to talk to you about the book, and about how it came to me. For one, “big publishers” did not “miss it.” They were not offered the book. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to follow up.

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