1. what are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got a pair of very exciting debut novels on submission at the moment and am otherwise looking forward to an eclectic trio of summer publications by my clients – Jemma Wayne’s AFTER BEFORE, VULGAR THINGS by Not The Booker Prize winner Lee Rourke and Fern Riddell’s THE VICTORIAN GUIDE TO SEX.
2. What are you looking for as an agent?
I’m trying to create a list that is balanced across fiction and non-fiction for adults, tending towards the more highbrow. On the non-fiction side, I’ve a handful of exceptionally good historians and science writers but am interested in a broad range of subjects from archaeology to musicology to zoology. My fiction tastes are more literary than commercial but not exclusively one or the other – particular favourites include Evelyn Waugh, AM Homes, Richards Ford and Yates, Marilynne Robinson and Raymond Queneau.
3. What three top tips would you give to an unpublished writer?
1. Remember your reader and keep them to the forefront of your mind. 2. In dealing with rejection, remember that in the spectrum of it’s not you, it’s me/it’s not me, it’s you sometimes it is you. Be prepared to rethink and rethink big. 3. Be nice. It makes life better and brings unexpected benefits.
4. Finally, which three writers would you invite round for tea and cake? Lorrie Moore, for her humour and good sense. My own client Greg Jenner for his welter of historical facts and anecdotes. And John Fowles for obvious reasons but also because he’s dead and I can imagine a coffin at the table would spark conversation.