James Shapiro is a writer and Professor of English at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985.

Among his books are 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), which was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize; 1606: The Year of Lear (2015), awarded the James Tait Black Prize for Biography; and most recently Shakespeare in a Divided America (2020), selected as one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times.  He is currently at work on two books: Playbook: Politics, Theatre, and the Origins of America’s Culture Wars and Othello: An American Life.   

His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the New Statesman, the Financial Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic. He has also co-written and presented a pair of BBC documentaries: The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History (2012) and The Mysterious Mr. Webster (2014).    

He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bogliasco Foundation. In 2011 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on the Board of Directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Authors Guild. He works with several theatre companies and is currently Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at New York’s Public Theater.