Q and A with May’s speaker Jo Rodgers of WME

We were delighted to catch up with Jo for a quick Q and A ahead of next week’s event:

  1. Please give us a brief biog.

I graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 2008,  and my first job was as an editorial assistant at Random House in New York. After two years at Random House my husband and I moved to London, where I spent a further couple of years learning the ropes at Curtis Brown before moving to WME. I have been at WME for three years, where I am building my list.

2.What are you working on at the moment ?

Today I am working on a terrific new novel by an American writer, and I am also submitting a cookery title for a popular restaurant in London.

3.What are you looking for? 

On the fiction side, I am looking for page-turning, plot driven novels. I concentrated in Victorian fiction at university, and I have a soft spot for gripping, complex stories. I love eerie twists and a lush sense of place. When it is done convincingly, magical realism can be wonderful. In non-fiction, I work primarily with food and lifestyle authors, and also consider narrative nonfiction.

  1. What book would you have wanted to represent?

There are so many excellent writers out there; outside of the brilliant WME client list I would say: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, and the Patrick Melrose series by Edward St Aubyn.

5.What top tips would you give to unpublished writers? 

Show your work to people whose advice and opinions you trust—as many of them as you can find. Consider joining a writers group, and listen to feedback. Read your work out loud to yourself; squiffy dialogue is much easier to catch when it is spoken. Polish your work as much as you can before beginning to approach agents, and research to find the right people before you submit. Keep in mind that the process of finding an agent is hugely subjective.


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