James has been a writer for as long as he has been a musician. On the break-up of the Nipple Erectors, he commenced writing a novel and attended writers’ programs in the United Kingdom at the City Literary Institute and the Arvon Foundation. Throughout his musical career he has kept copious diaries and continues to do so. Upon his departure from the Pogues in 1993, in tandem with recording, collaborations with other artists and musicians and composing for film and theatre, he re-committed himself to writing, becoming a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Hambidge Artists’ Residency Program. In addition, for the last twelve years James has studied/mentored with Leonard Cohen collaborator and writing teacher, Nancy Bacal.
2012 saw the publication by Faber and Faber in the United Kingdom of his memoir about his life with the Pogues, ‘Here Comes Everybody: the Story of the Pogues’. Chicago Review Press recently published the memoir in the United States. With lyricism and great honesty Fearnley has written about the young friendships, the arguments, the gigs – the consummate as well as the execrable – along with the fantastic highs and the dramatic lows in a hugely compelling, humorous, moving and candid account of life in one of the Western world’s most treasured and original bands.
Discussing the book, The Montreal Gazette claimed that
“Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues is–I won’t waffle around with my verdict here–one of the three best books by a musician that I’ve ever read.* Which makes it almost certainly the best book ever written by an accordionist.”