James MacManus is a local author who has lived in Dulwich for 27 years. He lived first in Court Lane and is now in Overhill Road in a flat with an amazing view of London. He is the managing director of the Times Literary Supplement with an easy commute to the office in London Bridge. James has written eight successful novels and some pretty awful poetry! James’ latest novel – his best yet according to critics – will be in the shops from September 14.
How long have you lived in the area?
27 years first in Court Lane and now Overhill road
What brought you here?
Schools for our children. Dulwich is blessed with some of the best primary and secondary education in the country – both state and private. The long and rich history of these area, the country village feel, the green open spaces everywhere – they were also a big attraction. To think that Edward Alleyn developed this area when his friend Shakespeare was writing Hamlet for the Globe theatre is quite something
What has changed most during that time?
The big increase in shops, cafes and restaurants has changed the character of Lordship Lane – for the better, much livelier now more hustle and bustle about the place. The Village has changed too but less so. For all the changes Dulwich East West and the Village has kept its slightly rural character.
What one thing would you change?
We need greater police presence on the streets – minor crime especially car theft is rising fast . I have not seen a policeman/woman on lordship since I arrived here. That might help get bikes and scooters off our pavements
What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without?
Dulwich Park and the P13 bus.
Describe your perfect weekend
A Saturday dinner with friends at Franklins Restaurant -a long Sunday walk through the park, coffee at Gail’s in the Village then on to Herne Hill market – a quick browse in the small bookshop there, buy a book then lunch at Llewelyns – brilliant restaurant.
Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?
North Cross Road market for coffee from Michelle at her van (half way up on right) banter and barter with Michael at his amazing value antiques and curios stall ( ell Michael says they are amazing value) and then a look around another bookshop, Rye books on the same road .
Coffee or tea? Where?
Spinach on LL – the owner Melissa Harwood knows exactly what her customers want and delivers. She is an entrepreneurial success story with openings in Streatham and Crystal Palace. The food is not all veggie but super healthy with amazing salads.
What’s your favourite place to go for as drink?
Franklins restaurant which has a great old fashioned wooden topped bar with a decent pint to match and some real characters behind the bar. Rod Franklin the owner is a bit of a character too!
The best kept secret…
Oru Space, a sort of super cafe cum shared workspace cum wellness centre on Lordship Lane – original Asian style food, sharp staff and free meditation sessions – and no I don’t have any connection to the place.
Where’s your favourite place to walk?
Dulwich Park – three circuits = 3 miles – easy with Mahler’s 5th on headphones. The joy of the place is that it offers space and freedom for so many: walkers, mums with kids, cyclists, joggers tennis players bird lovers and so forth.
If money was no object..
I would buy a Van Gogh painting as a gift for the Dulwich Art Gallery – we are so lucky to have such great art in our midst