As an Oxford undergraduate James Hawes saw and handled the original manuscript of The Castle. After taking a PhD on Nietzsche and Kafka, he held university lecture-ships at Maynooth, Sheffield and Swansea. He is the author of five novels, including A White Merc with Fins and White Powder, Green Light. His most recent novel, Speak For England (2005), was widely and enthusiastically reviewed. The BBC has commissioned Andrew Davies to re-work the novel for TV.