About Me

Hi! I’m James.

An Author, Marketer & Freelance Writer.

Born on the Isle of Wight, I studied language and literature at the University of Iceland and University of Malmö in Sweden. I now write as a freelancer for a variety of amazing businesses, as well as writing my own books too (see below)

The things that really excite me are food, history, languages and cultures. I’m especially passionate about the Balkans and I’m self-taught (albeit shakily) in Albanian, Turkish and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. For more on this side of things, feel free to take a look at my blogs to see what I’ve been up to recently.

Front cover of the book The Isle of Wight's Missing Chapter by James Rayner

The Isle of Wight’s Missing Chapter (2019)

My first book uncovers the forgotten Asian, African and Caribbean history of the Isle of Wight. It explores some of the Island’s overlooked minority residents, including Jamaican artists’ model Fanny Eaton and Sri Lankan cricketer Alfred Holsinger; and demonstrates how there have been mixed-race relationships on the Island for over two hundred years. It also takes a look at a number of the Island’s famous international visitors including Mahatma Gandhi, Haile Selassie, King Cetshwayo of the Zulus and Queen Emma of Hawaii.

First edition sold out

Front cover of the book Historic Isle of Wight Food by James Rayner

Historic Isle of Wight Food (2021)

This book takes a tour through the lost world of historic Isle of Wight food, exploring how the Island’s landscape, traditions and heritage combined to create a distinctive and varied food culture in centuries past. It reveals the stories behind some of the Island’s most iconic food products such as the spicy, plum-filled Isle of Wight doughnut and the pana cotta style dessert, junket, whilst also unearthing how wild garlic came to be named after the local Romani gypsy minority and how a biscuit with Island origins ended up being baked as far afield as Calcutta!

Available from local retailers including Medina Books and The Garlic Farm, as well as online: here.

Freelance Work

Books and blogs aside, I also do freelance writing, editing and marketing , as well as creating magazine articles for publications including Wightlife and Style of Wight. I’ve worked with all sorts of clients, both in the UK and abroad, across a range of different industries. If you have a project you might be looking for help with, please contact me here. Previous freelance clients have included: