We are delighted to catch up with June’s speaker ahead of the LWC Live event for some quickfire Q and A:
1/Please could you give us a brief biog?
I studied French and Italian at Oxford and then worked as a literary scout at Eccles Fisher Associates, assessing the newest UK manuscripts for foreign publishers and a major film producer. In April 2015 I joined Andrew Nurnberg Associates as a junior agent for the UK and US.
2/Why did you become a literary agent?
Working as a scout meant I had to read a bit of everything – fiction and non-fiction, literary and commercial – so I wanted to keep that breadth and not work within the constraints of a particular list or imprint. The joy of being an agent is that, so long as you can see a market for it, you can work on all kinds of different projects. I also love working closely with authors and had been editing on a freelance basis for a few years. So it’s a joy to be able to help my authors develop and polish their writing, and in the longer term nurture them through their careers.
3/What are you working on at the moment?
I do quite a variety of things: in addition to building up my own list, I sell many of the agency’s international authors for translation in the UK and/or US, and also work on relaunching our estates and backlist, to make sure that older authors and titles are not forgotten. It’s amazing being able to work, for example, on a new cookbook proposal, a forgotten classic and a prize-winning Arabic novel in the same day.
4/What are you looking for in a debut writer?
I’m looking for writing that stops me in my tracks and perhaps crosses genres, underpinned by a great story and watertight structure. My taste tends to be quite dark, but then I never know until I see it…
5/What three writers would you invite for tea and cake?
Philip Roth and Margaret Atwood, as I’m sure they’d both have many wicked tales to tell and would no doubt have a heated debate about gender roles! Last but not least, a travel writer like Colin Thubron, for the wonderful stories of far-off places.
6/Finally, what one top tip would you give for writers submitting their work to you?
If you can make your submission absolutely targeted and personal to me, rather than a blanket email, you will be one of very few and I’ll be sure to at least take a look.