By Bartholomew St. James

The Contrarian Candidate

Can a scathing stand-up comic betray the narcissist-in-chief,
dodge an assassin’s bullet and win the Presidency?

Who doesn’t love a good behind-the-scenes political story? It takes place during one day in the U.S. Presidential campaign on debate day. Former stand-up comic, Charlie Wyatt, has been an avid supporter of the President…until he just can’t take any more. He can’t bear the lying, cheating, and the flagrant display of corruption. He can’t condone the in-your-face racism, the destruction of families, and the escalation of violence instigated by the President’s very own brand of hate speech. He can’t bear the decimation of inalienable rights of the America he has always loved.

A most unexpected choice, Charlie Wyatt, the real-life comic decides to try to save the country he loves. Charlie takes life into his own hands to run for President. This political novel takes you on a journey with Charlie to address what we are all thinking about right now.


Lesley Hughes

Canadian journalist and frequent book reviewer
Winnipeg, Canada.

Fiction bests non-fiction once again, as The Contrarian Candidate takes on the big question citizens of the world are asking: how did America decline into its current miserable state? And is there a door marked EXIT?

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The novel brims with the honesty and compassion needed for political opponents to come together. Too entertaining to put down and too insightful to forget…..

Jim Friesen

Photographer and poet*, Vancouver, Canada

In The Contrarian Candidate, Bartholemew St James creates a parallel universe that deconstructs the current American socio-political situation while at the same time offering a possible way out. Charlie Wyatt, the unlikely hero, brings a philosophical antidote to the divisive powder keg we find ourselves in.

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Even as he ramps up the momentum on a simple but effective thriller, St James is able to provide a satisfying combination of wisdom and entertainment. A perfect book for right now.

* The Paradise Theatre And Other Poems, 2019, Gravity Press

Dr. Richard Smith 

Professor, Simon Fraser University

St. James brings to life a character many of us wish had emerged in the political process years ago: a credible alternative to the 45th president and someone who could dislodge him from the party ticket in the primaries, before doing even more damage.

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Well written, funny and intense, this is a great piece of alternative history. The cast of characters around Charlie – a standup comedian who takes on the challenge of displacing ‘DUPHUS’ is believable and makes this a real page turner.

Patrick Lowe

Filmmaker and documentarian

Intense and  fast paced, this novel takes the pulse of the current American zeitgeist …readers will be well rewarded to open this dry, incisive political satire…highly readable!”

Joan P

Neighbourhood safety & compliance officer, United Kingdom

The book’s backdrop is a political landscape in which the main character, Charlie is a contender in the forthcoming presidential election. Having voted for the current occupier of the White House, Charlie feels responsible “to fix what we’ve done to ourselves and the world”.

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The Contrarian Candidate is underpinned by a vital commentary on real World characters and perspectives, making for a tensely enthralling read. Dazzlingly original, cleverly observed and thought provoking social commentary that will surely appeal to fans of topical story telling.

Roger Currie

Columnist and broadcaster

So this is how everything ends up compromised…political leadership, media, elections, intimate relationships…The Contrarian Candidate take the up close and personal view behind the scenes so that the unthinkable seems reasonable, however wrong it may be…but understanding it all provides hope and humanity….

Joseph Rai

Journalist, India

The Contrarian Candidate is a topical novel, which vividly captures the zeitgeist of the deeply divided America that is headed for arguably the most sensational and polarised Presidential election. The incumbent President in the novel is unnamed but it is categorically evident who he is although as a character he is kept behind the scenes.  

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I was struck by this idea of putting the President in the background and had a gut feeling that it was a deliberate attempt by the author to gag the venom spewing President for once. Taking on the President in the upcoming election is an unusual candidate – a comedian named Charlie Wyatt. And that is why I thought the title – The Contrarian Candidate- is apt and witty. A huge chunk of the novel centres around the Presidential debate between Charlie and Teddy Tuff, who is sort of an incarnate of the current President and is standing in for him during the debate. The debate dissects topics from the trade war with China to the President’s notorious sexist remarks that created an uproar across the world. The author goes into depth into these topics and these parts make for an insightful read. Charlie, who himself had voted for the President in 2016, is witty and likeable. But very realistically, the author also exposes the flaws and vulnerabilities of Charlie and if his comedian’s wit is enough to topple the conniving incumbent and hold the most powerful position in the world. At the macro level, the author seeks to explore the degree of truth in the old adage that politics is a dirty game. The author has also successfully portrayed the consequence of the incumbent President’s regime that has stoked nothing but divisions and hatred. Like many perhaps, there is a yearning in the author’s voice for a world where people agreed to disagree and the atmosphere was relatively harmonious and less suffocating. This quote encapsulates this well:“There was a time not so long ago … when we didn’t feel such distance and such hatred towards each other. But nowadays it seems like things have gotten so bad that most of us can’t even remember that world, can’t even remember when we could actually talk to each other.”One can only hope for a return to some semblance of that period when we were more tolerant towards each other.

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St. James

Bartholomew St. James has spent a lifetime as a deep political thinker, operative and strategist and has now turned his analysis and political insight into a novel that turns politics on its head. He felt compelled to write about what is top-of-mind for many of us at this tumultuous and volatile time in 2020. He needed to address how to reunite a country that has not been this divided since the American Civil War. The Contrarian Candidate is his first novel.

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“When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.”

– Clarence Darrow

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