A year ago, Peters, Fraser + Dunlop contacted me, taking note of the quality of work coming out of The Novelry through our creative writing courses, and asked whether an association might be useful for all parties. So, I went to meet with Tessa David and Tim Bates of PFD on New Oxford Street and we had a chat about the kind of writing that excites us all. We agreed to work together to progress talent coming out of The Novelry, and I asked them for one thing; that the Novelry's graduates get VIP treatment. When I submit work on my writers' behalf, the agency should give us an expression of interest within two weeks.
Since then other agents have been in touch with The Novelry asking to be on our list for first sight of great novels as they emerge hot from our oven, and I've made contact with agents I know to be wonderful advocates of their writers' work in genres useful to my writers. The same deal applies to all - no slush pile! A two-week reading and response time (and gentle and courteous treatment of my writers).
We have seen the beginning of some beautiful relationships in the last year.
You'll all be familiar with the process which puts prose through its paces so that every novel we submit is in really great shape, but if you're not, you can take a look here.
I'm very proud of our agency list. Our agents cover the globe, working internationally and are AAA and AAR members. As individuals, they are known and vouched for by myself and The Novelry members. Working alongside our agents gives me a chance to keep an ear to the ground. From the very first chat with each of my writers I match their intentions for their book to a commercial sweet spot. It's our unabashed intention to get our writers publishing contracts, and it's a great joy and privilege for me to be able to make that call to say "THEY LOVE IT!"
Recently one of my writers described my role as being 'manager' of my writers' careers. I see myself as a proud mother. My writers find it amusing to call me 'Miss' after Miss Jean Brodie of Muriel Spark's eponymous novel, and I am very pleased to accept the ribbing. I am completely partisan, devoted to my writers, and thrilled at their successes. I am in the position of knowing how far each has come from the early days of nerves and doubt, they struggle through various personal difficulties and crises, overcome hardship, to ensure that one thing they mean to leave behind them, to speak for their time is as good as damn it. I never forget how blessed I am to be part of their story. To me, my writers are la crème de la crème, not just because of their literary prowess but for their indomitable qualities in the face of the tedious duties of non-fiction life. I know how hard they've worked, there's no 'luck' about their success. It's deserved. (I should add, we would never ask for commission from either party, I find the idea of it quite odious.)
Now, to some other fine people.
Peters Fraser + Dunlop (PFD) is a talent and literary agency based in London, England. One of the oldest agencies in Britain, dating from 1924, PFD was a co-founder of the Association of Authors' Agents, it is home to a distinguished and varied client list, including Jeanette Winterson, Ruby Wax, Steve Peters, Helen Rappaport, Simon Schama, William Hague, Sarah Raven, Twiggy, Sir Max Hastings, Chris Patten, Bear Grylls, Valentine Warner, Philip Norman, Graham Masterton and such estates as V.S. Pritchett, E.M. Forster.
Tim Bates joined PFD after being an agent with Pollinger Limited for nearly 10 years. Before becoming an agent, he worked in various positions in publishing, including at Penguin Books, where he was Commissioning Editor for Penguin Classics. He has a very broad range of interests in fiction and represents many wonderful writers including Lesley Pearse and our very own Romla Ryan.
Tessa David is looking for literary, historical, high concept psychological thrillers and literary/ commercial crossover fiction. She has a weak spot for books set in wild and remote locations – think tiny islands or windswept moors; add in a murder or love story (or both) and she's hooked.
Silvia Molteni is the dedicated children’s books Agent at PFD and across MG and YA fiction, she is drawn to voice-driven and character-driven narratives, LGBTQI story-lines and characters, endearing narrators, magical realism and upmarket literary fiction. She's looking for Middle Grade novels, strong and diverse voices with brave narratives and contemporary and realistic settings, edgy, funny and moving Middle Grade fiction. Her client list includes our very own Susie Bower.
United Agents (UA) is a talent and literary agency headquartered in Soho, London, England. In 2007 UA set up a literary division and further to the acquisition of AP Watt , now represents writers across fiction, non-fiction, history and children's books, as well as illustrators. Authors have won many of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes (including the Man Booker Prize, the COSTA Novel of the Year, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Windham-Campbell Prize, the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Book Award) and appeared at the top of the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller lists. Clients include John Banville, Julian Barnes, Tessa Hadley and the estate of Helen Dunmore.
Millie Hoskins is seeking exciting new writers of fiction both commercial and literary and represents Philip Pullman, JP Delaney, Kate Saunders and our very own Cate Guthleben.
Conville & Walsh, C+W, is a leading international literary agency founded by Patrick Walsh and Clare Conville in 2000. Their clients include DBC Pierre, winner of the 2003 Booker prize, Sarah Hall, author of The Electric Michaelangelo, shortlisted for the 2004 Booker prize, S.J. Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep, Stephen Kelman, shortlisted for the 2011 Booker prize and Esther Freud.
Sophie Lambert is looking for literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction and crime fiction as well as novels that don't necessarily neatly fit into a single genre but that are strongly voice-driven. Her clients include Catherine Cho, Guy Gunaratne and one of our own graduates Rebecca Ley.
"I am eager to find a love story that blows me away and something that makes me laugh Touching, funny, hard and heartrending – I’d love to consider anything providing the story is compelling, the characters resonate, the writing is top-notch and the author a joy!"
The agency specialises in bestselling commercial fiction. It was founded in 1988 by Darley Anderson and has its Head Office in central South-West London, with a Regional Office near the book town of Hay-on-Wye. Many of its fiction writers are among the highest paid bestselling authors in the world. Martina Cole has had 15 No.1 UK bestsellers. She has spent more weeks at No.1 in the UK than any other adult fiction author. Lee Child has achieved the unique feat among British writers of being No.1 in both US and UK hardback and paperback lists with each of his novels featuring Jack Reacher over the last ten years. In 2017 the Agents negotiated six-figure deals both in the UK and US for debut authors Sandie Jones, Beth O’Leary, T M Logan and Catherine Steadman. The Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency specialises in finding and nurturing new author talent and represents our very own Rashmi Sirdeshpande.
Tanera Simons is building a women’s fiction list. She is a huge fan of commercial romances, and has a particular passion for strong female leads and authors with a unique voice.
Lydia Silver represents children's and YA, she loves working editorially with writers and is always on the lookout for new talent. Lydia represents clients in the UK and the US including Dominic Beesley, Rachel Morrisroe and our Rashmi Sirdeshpande. Lydia is actively looking for submissions from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, LGBTQ and all other under-represented writers.
"I’m particularly looking for middle grade (as I’m sure many other agents are!), although I’ll also consider picture books and YA – but for both of these, they have to be utterly stand-out as the market is so difficult. And then in terms of tastes, we’re a very commercial agency, and so although I do love beautiful literary work, it’s a bit trickier for me to represent. I love funny books, adventure stories, a bit of fantasy – probably more middle grade than high-end YA – and anything that’s got a lot of heart and is quite moving. I’d love to find a diverse Louise Rennison YA, a really propelling MG adventure, or a female-led funny story in the Tom Gates arena. And if you ever get anything that feels like Northern Lights, I will bite your hand off to see it. It’s my favourite book in the world."
Founded by David H Headley in 2008, this team of passionate book lovers with a huge commercial client list are devoted to finding new talent and growing writing careers.
Broo Doherty particularly enjoys crime, women's commercial fiction, and literary fiction. In 2017 she was voted Literary Agent of the Year at the Royal Novelist's Association.
Into their sixth decade, Johnson & Alcock boasts a vibrant list of fiction for both children and adults, and are proud to represent prizewinning and bestselling authors across the genres in the UK and internationally.
Anna Power is the MD of Johnson & Alcock and looks after a list of award-winning and bestselling novelists. She's looking for literary and commercial novels including thrillers, psychological suspense, historical and women's fiction. She favours great storytelling and a fresh voice, and enjoys discovering and working with debut writers. She also represents some children's fiction, from middle grade through to YA.
"I’m always on the lookout for new talented writers! I’m pleased to be working with you as you’re obviously doing great work at The Novelry."
Founded in 1970, Watson, Little Ltd is a long-established literary agency that offers a full service to its clients across all aspects of media. It has an outstanding track record, and has represented a number of celebrated, bestselling and prize-winning authors over the years and handles an unusually wide range of adult, children’s and young adult fiction.
Donald Winchester began his publishing career at Penguin Press before moving to AP Watt. There he worked for five years with a number of acclaimed and prize-winning authors. He joined Watson, Little as an agent in 2013. He was the Secretary of the Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA) from 2017-19. Donald is interested in literary fiction and well-written commercial fiction, particularly debut authors, as well as memoir.
The agency was founded in 1919 by Audrey Heath and Alice May Spinks, two women, both in their mid-thirties. An unmarried woman and a widowed single mother made an unlikely coupling in a literary world dominated by male heavyweights. Taking an office on Golden Square in London’s Soho and christening the company after their own names – the ‘A.M.’ came from Alice May, with Audrey donating her surname ‘Heath’ – they began business. Hilary Mantel was the agency's fourth Booker prize winner, with Wolf Hall in 2009. In 2012, its follow-up volume, Bring Up the Bodies, repeated the feat, making Hilary the first writer in history to win two Booker Prizes with successive novels – and the first to win with a direct sequel. A.M. Heath is passionate about great writing.
A full-service literary agency established by Charlie Brotherstone which represents novelists of commercial and literary fiction and includes New York Times and Sunday Times bestsellers.
Charlie Brotherstone joined A.M. Heath in 2008, building a list of authors before moving to Ed Victor Limited in 2014. He founded his own agency in 2017 and represents our very own Tracey Emerson.
"Brilliant writing shines through regardless of genre and it’s been a privilege to discover new writers, reflected in the eclectic mix of authors with whom I’m lucky enough to work. I admire authors who amplify your experience of the world and have the power to change your view of it: J.G. Ballard, Hilary Mantel, Patrick Hamilton, David Foster Wallace, to name but a few."
We are now working in partnership with this formidable agency to find new talent. For more than ten consecutive years, TMG has ranked number one for sales according to the publishing marketplace in North America. The agency operates worldwide. TMG is the only U.S. literary agency to consistently be in the top ten in UK fiction and has ranked as highly as number one in UK fiction deals. Among the agency’s clients are Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award winners, The Booker, and winners of various other literary prizes.
Alexa Stark earned her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Before coming to Trident, she worked at PEN American Center and at Curtis Brown. She is particularly drawn to literary debuts with a unique voice and perspective, character-driven suspense and thrillers, stories about dysfunctional friendships and families, fiction that delves into the surreal and select YA. Above all, she’s looking for assured prose, captivating storytelling, and characters that come alive.
At The Novelry, we are very proud of our relationships with highly-regarded agents and pleased to matchmake. We don't ask for any commission and have no financial interest in any arrangement, we want the best writers to get the agent who is just right for them, their work and career.
The experience of submitting work on my writers' behalf is exhilarating. I am able to praise my writers to the skies, in a way they can't if they submit direct. I can commend them to agents who trust they'll receive only la crème de la crème and as a writer who remembers the nail-biting process of submitting to agents, the process is gently cushioned and ultimately rewarding for my beloved writers who have been through the ordeal of having 'Miss' attend to their work through many rounds of endeavour!
We approach submission as partners, we agree a plan together and I submit when we are confident of success. It's a managed process, you're in safe hands, and I'm here to keep you smiling, and writing all the way home.
Find out more about The Novelry's 'Miss Jean Brodie' here.
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