Our first event of 2016 was with the agent, Laura Macdougall of Tibor Jones and following is a set of quick fire questions with her:
1/Please give us a brief biog.
I read Classics at Oxford at both undergraduate and graduate level. After living in Italy for a couple of years I started my publishing career in the fiction department at Hodder & Stoughton, where I remained for five years. I worked with bestselling authors such as Stephen King and David Nicholls as well as commissioning titles across for the reading group, crime and historical fiction lists. I joined Tibor Jones as an agent in March 2015 and am now building up a list of fantastic writers, most of whom are first-time authors.
2/What are you working on at the moment?
Lots of things! One of the many great aspects of this job is there’s so much variety. This month in particular I have one novel on which I have a couple of offers, another which I’m hoping to submit, and I’m also working on editorial notes for a couple of my fiction authors.
3/What are you looking for in a debut writer?
I have quite a full list at the moment, so I’m really only looking for work that instantly grabs me, whether that’s through a gripping plot or beautiful prose. It has to be something that I want to force my colleagues to read immediately. I’m looking for authors who write great covering letters and synopses, and follow our submission guidelines (some seem to find this difficult), and whose work fills a gap in my own list and in the market. At the moment I’m particularly looking for intelligent crime, cookery and narrative non-fiction.
4/ What top tip would you give to unpublished writers?
Read as much as you can. Read your own work out loud to check the dialogue actually works and that the prose flows. Research literary agents and be selective when approaching them.
5/What three writers would you invite round for tea and cake?
Margaret Atwood, Ruth Ozeki and Andrew Solomon.
Join us to find out more about Laura and Tibor Jones