The Festival of Writing. University of York.







Meet leading literary agents, commisioning editors and published authors (experienced in editorial feedback) to discuss your work directly with them.
Everyone booking a ticket at the Festival is entitled to two ten minute 1-to-1 sessions


The agents and publishers are looking for talented new authors - so these sessions provide the opportunity to pitch your work to industry gatekeepers. 

You can choose to have both your 1-1 sessions with agents/publishers, both with book doctors, or you can choose one of each. 

Please read the One-to-One biographies section below and select who you would like to meet, keeping in mind the day(s) on which they are offering appointments - please consult the booking form all slot availabilties. It is important to keep in mind the different types of feedback on offer:

  • Literary agents or publishers.

    These sessions will focus on the marketability of your work.

  • Professional authors and book doctors.

    These sessions will focus on editorial issues. 


Book Doctor: Debi Alper

Debi is the author of six novels, the first two of which Nirvana Bites and Trading Tatiana, were published by Orion to critical acclaim. Her books are contemporary urban thrillers set among the sub-cultures and she expounds her themes with generosity of spirit and dark humour. An unexpected result of giving up her day job to concentrate on writing is that she spends a lot of time concentrating on helping other writers to perfect their novels through critiques, mentoring, Book Doctor sessions and creative writing workshops. Debi edits in all genres and several authors that she has worked with have been signed up with agents and gone on to see their books published.


Agent: Nelle Andrew, Peters Fraser & Dunlop

Nelle worked with Caroline Michel as her assistant for over three years. She was promoted in 2012 to an Agent and is looking to build her list. She is primarily interested in literary fiction/literary commercial cross-over fiction and women’s fiction in particular in this genre as well as serious non fiction and celebrity biographies. She worked at Pan Macmillan before joining PFD and has a BA from Warwick University in English with Creative Writing and an MPhil from Trinity College Dublin in Creative Writing with Publishing.

"I represent a variety of authors across many genres but what they all have in common is an original story and a strong narrative voice.

I am drawn to unique storytelling and compelling prose. I am always looking for a book to fall in love with and champion. In particular I have a real affinity for debuts having been an author before becoming an agent. I believe in the importance of the author/agent relationship, as a crucial foundation for a solid and flourishing writer’s career."


Agent: Diana Beaumont, The Agency Group

Diana spent nine years as senior commissioning editor (fiction and non-fiction) at Transworld where she published many bestselling authors. Earlier, she read English Language and Literature at Oxford University, then went on to work at Thames & Hudson and Hodder & Stoughton. After Transworld she became a freelance editorial consultant and script doctor. Her clients have included leading literary agents, publishers and authors. Her particular interests include quality women's commercial fiction, historical fiction, crime fiction, accessible literary fiction, lifestyle, cookery and memoirs.


Agent: Lorella Belli, Lorella Belli Literary Agency

Lorella Belli has worked in the publishing industry for 12 years (for publishers as well as literary agencies) and set up her own agency in London's Notting Hill in 2002. Lorella studied literature and languages at the University of Venice and wrote her MA dissertation on the history of the profession, ''The Literary Agent as Businessman and as Promoter of Literature''. She is particularly interested in first time novelists, journalists, multi-cultural and international writing and books about Italy. She is a member of the Association of Authors' Agents, the Romantic Novelist Association, The Crime Writers' Association, Women in Publishing and The Society of Young Publishers. She is frequently asked to give talks to writers' groups, literary festivals and students on creative writing courses.


Agent: Piers Blofeld, Sheil Land Associates

Piers Blofeld is an agent at Sheil Land. Sheil Land Associates is a long established literary, theatrical and film agency. Piers is looking for clients that write quality, literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction including thrillers, crime/mystery, politics, political and military history, gardening, cookery, romance, drama, biography/memoir, travel, humour, all types of contemporary and literary women’s fiction, self-improvement, mind-body-spirit, lifestyle, popular science and psychology, children’s, young adult, science fiction, fantasy and paranormal."


Agent: Robert Caskie, Peters Fraser & Dunlop

Robert Caskie is a Senior Agent at PFD and was appointed COO in December 2012. Robert grew up in Ireland and read English at Trinity College Dublin. Prior to joining Peters Fraser and Dunlop in 2012, Robert was in charge of creating a literary division at MacFarlane Chard Associates. Before that he worked at Capel & Land Ltd for six years. Earlier in his career he also worked in New York for three years at the film PR company, PMK."


Agent: Julia Churchill, A.M Heath

Julia Churchill joined AM Heath in 2013 as Children's Agent, after four years building up the UK side of the Greenhouse Literary Agency, and six years at the Darley Anderson Agency where she grew the children’s list. She represents some fabulous writers, but is always on the treasure hunt for new writing talent. She’s looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA fiction.


Book Doctor: Julie Cohen

Award-winning novelist Julie Cohen writes emotional, character-driven women's fiction novels. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages and sold nearly a million copies worldwide. Her latest paperback, Where Love Lies, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Award. Dear Thing was a Richard and Judy 2014 Summer Book Club selection. Julie is also an experienced teacher, recently leading writing courses for the Guardian, Random House, the V&A Museum and Literature Wales.


Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White

Sam is an agent at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Sam's first job in publishing was at Curtis Brown, where he started in 2001.  He left in 2006 to help create the Robinson Literary Agency, and joined Rogers, Coleridge and White in 2009 when the two companies merged.   He is building an extremely diverse list, representing writers of both literary and commercial fiction, science fiction, children’s (11+), serious and not-so-serious non-fiction.  In fact, he is happy to look at anything but self-help and business books.


Book Doctor: Emma Darwin

Emma’s debut novel 'The Mathematics of Love' was published in 2006. The Times described it as: “that rare thing, a book that works on every conceivable level. A real achievement”, and it was was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers and Goss First Novel awards, longlisted for the Prince Maurice Prize and the RNA Novel of the Year, and has been translated into many languages. Emma’s bestselling second novel, 'A Secret Alchemy', was published in 2008; the Daily Mail acclaimed it as “powerful and utterly convincing”, and The Times as one of their 50 Best Paperbacks of 2009.Emma is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing with the Open University.


Book Doctor: Hal Duncan

Hal has over twenty years critiquing experience as a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, and a half dozen years writing for a living, mainly fiction and poetry but also a considerable amount of literary criticism and commentary via his regular 'Notes from New Sodom' column for BSC Review. He's also made forays beyond print, writing a queer rock musical which debuted as a student production in Chicago last year, and lyrics for a collaboration with Scottish band Aereogramme on /Ballads of the Book/ album from Chemikal Underground. A blend of pulp and postmodernism, his first novel, VELLUM, was described by Lucius Shepard as 'the Guernica of genre fiction', and shared awards shortlists with everyone from Neil Gaiman (BFS Award) to Brett Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami (World Fantasy Award).


Agent: David Haviland, Andrew Lownie

David is an agent at the Andrew Lownie agency, he is also a writer, editor, and ghostwriter, with a number of bestselling books to his name.The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd, founded in 1988, is now one of the UK's leading boutique literary agencies with some two hundred non-fiction and fiction authors and is actively building its fiction list. David is looking for fiction in all genres, and vivid, dramatic stories will always get his attention.He is particularly interested in crime, thrillers, mysteries and adventure stories.


Book Doctor: Shelley Harris

Shelley’s first novel, Jubilee came out last year. Shelley Harris won the Friday night competition at the Festival of Writing 2010, spent the weekend being wooed by numerous agents – and ended up with a wonderful book deal with Weidenfeld & Nicolson. She’s been described by the Guardian as a ‘new novelist whose next book you are already impatient to read’ Her new book is due out in March 2016


Editor: Alison Hennessey, Random House

Alison began her editorial career on the Penguin Classics list before moving to work at Vintage Books, the literary paperback imprint of Random House, in 2005. She was appointed Harvill Secker’s inaugural Senior Crime Editor at the beginning of 2012, where she commissions and edits literary crime, mysteries and thrillers from writers in the English language and in translation. Her authors include the number one bestseller Jo Nesbo, whose Harry Hole thriller The Snowman is currently being made into a film by Martin Scorsese, Henning Mankell, author of the Kurt Wallander books, as well as many up and coming new writers, including Arne Dahl, Eva Dolan, MD Villiers and Christopher J. Yates. She is particularly interested in character led crime fiction, literary suspense, atmospheric period fiction and high concept thrillers, and can be found on Twitter at @Crime_Queen, rhapsodizing about her authors, her books, her job and cake.


Agent: Penny Holroyde, Caroline Sheldon Agency

New just In: Penny Holroyde is in the process of establishing her own agency, after nearly a decade at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. Interested in children’s books for all ages - She particularly like's laugh-out-loud books aimed at middle grade children but also loves books with emotional depth and strong plots for older children. For her adult portfolio, She's very interested in memoirs. Historical settings and again, a really compelling voice that works in whatever world the author has created are key likes. The Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency is one of the UK’s leading literary agencies representing a bestselling roster of authors and illustrators. Our particular areas of interest include fiction, non-fiction—especially human interest stories and memoirs—and all types of children's books.


Agent: Ben Illis, The Ben Illis Agency

The BIA was established in 2012 by Ben Illis to offer specialist literary representation, focussing on writers of Children's, Young Adult and crossover fiction and select clients who also write for adults.

A bit more about Ben...
I have been lucky enough to work in many guises in the publishing industry over the past almost two decades. As part of the branch management team of Books Etc, I bought kids and YA books in stores across the whole of London. I was a co-founder of Old Street Publishing. I have been both sales director and marketing director of small publishers. I have acquired, commissioned and edited;  done picture research and ghost-written, all ahead of turning my hand to agenting. I am a published writer in my own right and have had the experience of working with agents both good and bad from the other (your) side of the fence.


Editor: Jessica Leeke, Michael Joseph

Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House) appointed Jessica Leeke to the role of editorial director last year, prior to this she was senior commissioning editor at Simon & Schuster.

Recent acquisitions by Leeke include Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies, one of the hotly tipped books at this year’s London Book Fair.

During her time at Simon & Schuster Leeke also acquired authors including Laura McBride, currently on the BBC Radio 2 Bookclub; Lisa Genova, whose Left Neglected was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection; and Jason Hewitt, whose The Dynamite Room was longlisted for this year’s Desmond Elliot Prize.

Before working at Simon & Schuster, Leeke was paperback editor at Bloomsbury, where she worked with authors including William Boyd and Khaled Hosseini.


Publisher: Anna Lewis, Completely Novel

Anna Lewis is the co-founder of - a unique publishing platform that specialises in beautiful print books and advice for authors. You can find more information about printing and publishing your book with CompletelyNovel on their website ( or connect on Twitter @CompletelyNovel.


Editor: David Maybury, Scholastic Children’s Books

David is Commissioning Editor at Scholastic Children’s Books. Publishing some of the best authors and illustrators and partnering with the best creators in the world. He's also worked at some of the best companies in children's media and publishing - including Brown Bag Films and Penguin Children's Books. David is looking to develop the list from 5+ all the way through to YA. *There is a dedicated picture book team which leaves David to concentrate on the non-PB market.*


Book Doctor: Claire McGowan

Claire McGowan has published three acclaimed crime novels, was the first Director of the Crime Writers’ Association, and now runs the first MA in Crime Writing at City University, where she teaches and mentors students to complete their first novels. She has also run courses for the Arvon Foundation, and workshops for Guardian Masterclasses, the Plymouth Book Festival, Camp Bestival, the Lichfield Literary Festival, the Essex Book Festival, Queen’s University Belfast, Get Writing, and the York Festival of Writing, and more. Claire has also delivered workshops on: characterisation, dialogue, setting, research, plotting, pacing, premise and sub-genres of crime writing. From 2015 she will also be writing women’s fiction under a pseudonym. "


Book Doctor: Tamsyn Murray

Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall but now lives in Hertfordshire with her family. She writes mostly funny books for children of all ages, from picture books (Snug as a Bug, Simon and Schuster) to teen (the Afterlife series, Piccadilly Press). She is currently working on the cringe-along Completely Cassidy series, published by Usborne and featuring disaster-prone Cassidy Bond and her embarrassing family. Tamsyn writes for adults under the pen-name Holly Hepburn and her novella series, The Star and Sixpence, will be published by Simon and Schuster in November 2015. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.


Agent: Hellie Ogden, Janklow & Nesbit

Before joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2013, Hellie Ogden spent three years at Greene & Heaton Literary Agency where she built up her list of clients and managed the translation rights.
She is looking for series crime, psychological thrillers, commercial women’s fiction, young adult and children’s debuts and accessible, charming literary fiction. She enjoys novels with exotic settings, bold twists and enticing protagonists. She represents Sunday Times bestseller M.J. Arlidge whose crime debut EENY MEENY has sold in 20 territories and T.R. Richmond whose novel WHAT SHE LEFT was bought around the world. She is particularly focused on launching new talent.  
In non-fiction she is looking for unique personal stories and work that has a large social following with cross-media potential. She represents cook books from aspiring foodies, as well as popular culture projects, helping to build her clients’ profiles across different platforms.
Hellie featured in The Bookseller Rising Stars list 2013 and was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2014.



Agent: Sarah O’Halloran , Madeleine Milburn Agency

Sarah is a brand new literary agent at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. She began her career in 2007 at The Agency (London) Ltd before working at Curtis Brown and the Marsh Agency. Most recently she worked as a literary scout at Louise Allen-Jones. She has a BA in History from the LSE and an MA in Literature from University College Dublin.

Sarah is looking for upmarket commercial fiction and accessible literary fiction as well as children’s and YA. She is also delighted to be developing a non-fiction list with a focus on history, biography and memoir. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction she’s looking for strong, unique voices and stylish, distinctive writing. She is drawn to contemporary stories and has a fondness for dark themes and unlikeable characters!


Agent: Philip Patterson, Marjacq Scripts Ltd

Philip heads the book department at Marjacq.  He joined in 2003 from Curtis Brown where he was a film, television and theatre agent for 7 years.  Before that he worked for HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

He loves fiction and non-fiction in just about any genre, avoids epic science fiction and paranormal romance (unless it is for the teen market).

He has a particular interest in crime and thrillers, but is keen to tackle other genres. He is on the look out for more psychological thrillers, historical and literary fiction, women's commercial fiction, YA and children's fiction.  Narrative non-fiction, history, politics, military, humour are all good.  Mind/body/spirit, misery memoirs or gap year travels - not for him.  He likes good stories and writers who know how to tell them.


Agent: Norah Perkins, Curtis Brown Group

Norah is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, one of the world’s biggest and most influential agencies.

After four years as the managing editor at the independent publisher Canongate Books, Norah joined Curtis Brown in May 2013 to work on Karolina Sutton’s list. She now represents Curtis Brown’s rich list of historic clients, including Laurie Lee, Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Rumer Godden, Isaiah Berlin, Henry Miller and Stella Gibbons, and is also on the lookout for challenging, original voices in fiction and non-fiction. When she’s not at her desk, she is (slowly) restoring an antique Golding Pearl letterpress.


Agent: Carrie Plitt, Conville & Walsh

Carrie joined Conville and Walsh in 2011 and works closely with Patrick Walsh's clients as a junior agent, having previously worked in the Rights Department at Penguin. She is currently building a list of her own.
The thing she enjoys most about her job is the process of guiding a book from first draft to final version, and she loves working closely with authors and their work. Outside of the agency, she hosts a monthly books show on NTS Radio.
She'd like to see both fiction and non-fiction. "In terms of fiction, I’m most drawn to excellent writing and compelling characters regardless of genre. That said, I usually find myself reading literary fiction and sometimes high-concept YA.
On the non-fiction side I’m keen to see strong writers who are passionate about something fascinating and perhaps even a little quirky or left of field. I’d especially be interested to hear from authors writing about art, feminism, music, nature and sports. I’m a big fan of narrative non-fiction and long-form journalism, and I’ve been inspired recently by writing from Leanne Shapton, Roger Deakin, Katharine Boo and Elif Batuman." 


Agent: Jenny Savill, Andrew Nurnberg Associates

Jenny joined Andrew Nurnberg Associates in 2002, becoming an Agent for the UK and US in 2007.  She looks after authors of both fiction and non-fiction and her background in working creatively with young people, coupled with a life-long love of children’s books, has, in addition, led her to build an exciting roster of children’s and YA authors.

Jenny likes to work editorially with authors. She is on the look-out for authentic voices, killer plots, and that certain something that makes her forget to breathe while she’s reading… In addition to children’s and YA authors, Jenny is particularly interested in hearing from writers of both literary and commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction and memoir.


Book Doctor: Jeremy Sheldon

Jeremy is an author, screenwriter and producer with 14 years’ experience in film, publishing, higher education and communications. His collaborators and clients range from top award winning producers to highly acclaimed independent filmmakers, from governments and global corporations to the world’s leading schools and universities.
Jonathan Cape have published two full-length works of his fiction, The Comfort Zone (2002) and The Smiling Affair (2005).


Agent: Hannah Sheppard, D H H Agency

Hannah Sheppard studied English Literature at the University of Liverpool where she set up a small poetry press in her spare time. She has since spent over a decade working in trade publishing. Hannah loves the editorial process and is passionate about stories and helping writes develop their ideas for commercial success.

Founded by David H Headley in 2008, the D H H Agency's main objective is to provide a more attentive and individual representation for their authors. The aim to discover and nurture talented authors, whether debut or established, providing personalised and honest representation. The D H H agency represents an eclectic range of best-selling and award-winning authors, including novelists, historians, short-story writers and children's authors.


Book Doctor: Allie Spencer

Award-winning writer Allie ( is the author of five romantic comedy novels, an experienced creative writing tutor – and a graduate of the English Department here at York University. Her latest book, Save the Date! is published by Arrow and is out on 21st June this year. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and a keen supporter of the New Writers Scheme, being one of its readers and a former member.


Book Doctor: C M Taylor

Craig (writing as C M Taylor) is the author of five novels. Premiership Psycho (Corsair 2011) and the Amazon best-selling Group of Death (Corsair 2012) form two thirds of a savagely satirical trilogy about contemporary celebrity culture described as 'Brilliant' by The Sun, and 'Horribly entertaining' by The Mirror. He's also the author of Light, Cloven and Grief, the latter a dystopian fantasy described by British Science Fiction Association as a work of 'breathtaking originality' and nominated for their 2005 Book of the Year. A keen collaborator, Craig has established a company to create narrative apps. He has been a book editor with the Writers' Workshop since (almost) its inception 


Jennifer Parker, Troubador Publishing.

Jennifer is Production Manager of Troubador Publishing Ltd, which runs the UK’s most widely-recommended self-publishing service, Matador. Troubador also organises the UK’s only dedicated Self-Publishing Conference (now in its third year), and publishes the quarterly Self-Publishing Magazine.


Agent: Jo Unwin, Jo Unwin Literary Agency

Jo is a Literary Agent who has written for both TV and film, from Byker Grove and My Parents are Aliens to Smack the Pony.  From 2005-2008 she worked at Aardman Features as their film scout, meeting publishers and rights agents on the hunt for books that would lend themselves to adaptation by the UK's most successful animation company.
She joined Conville and Walsh Literary Agency in 2008 and took to being a Literary Agent like a duck to water.  She was in a shortlist of three for the Bookseller Industry Awards Literary Agent of the Year in 2010, and was picked out as one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars in 2011.
Jo's now set up JULA, based at and working in close association with Rogers, Coleridge and White.  She represents authors of literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, Young Adult fiction and fiction for children aged 9+ but not younger (picture books only if written by established clients).  She also represent comic writing and narrative non-fiction.


Agent: Clare Wallace, Darley Anderson Agency

Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. As the Head of Rights, she negotiates deals for translation rights all around the world for all the Agency’s authors. Clare is also scouting for new talent and is looking for commercial and accessible literary general fiction and all types of women’s fiction. Alongside Camilla, Clare is also building the children’s list and is looking for new children's authors and illustrators. At the Agency Clare represents authors both in the UK and the US including Kerry Fisher, Rosie Blake, Martyn Ford, Kim Slater, Polly Ho-Yen, Dave Rudden, Caroline Crowe and Adam Perrott and illustrators Jon Holder, Clare Mackie, Loretta Schauer and Lorna Scobie.


Chris Wellbelove joined Greene & Heaton in 2010 and represents commercial and literary fiction and non-fiction. In fiction he is particularly interested in accessible voice-driven and quirky literary fiction, original crime fiction, high-concept novels and psychological suspense, and in non-fiction he likes to read popular science and psychology, sport and current affairs, and in projects with cross-media potential. Greene & Heaton Ltd was founded in 1953 and represents a number of prize-winning authors of fiction and non-fiction as well as cookery writers and media and television personalities.


Book Doctor: Andrew Wille

Andrew Wille was managing editor and then senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring or working on critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction as varied as Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Subsequently he has freelanced for many of the industry’s most notable imprints, worked as a book doctor, and taught for Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Falmouth University’s MA in Professional Writing. His own fiction has been published in anthologies Uncontained and Primal Picnics and in many literary magazines. More info at


Agent: James Wills, Watson, Little Ltd

James is Managing Director of Watson, Little Ltd and is passionate about reading and good writing. He looks after a dynamic and wide-ranging list of writers and is always searching for new, exciting material, especially from debut authors. Watson, Little Ltd was founded in 1970 and represents a number of bestselling and prize-winning authors and estates, such as Margaret Mahy, Evie Wyld, Christopher Fowler, James Wong, Colin Wilson and Alex Marwood.

"I am looking for striking, quirky, character-driven, commercial and literary fiction that is thrilling, bold and beautifully written. My interests range from the decidedly off-beat to the unashamedly popular side of popular culture but I am always looking for writers with an edge who are experts in their fields. At present, I'd particularly love to see strong, narrative non-fiction, including history, sport, science, popular music, comedy and website/blog-based material."

James was Secretary of the Association of Authors' Agents from 2009-2011.


Agent: John Wordsworth, Zeno Agency

A former commissioning editor at Headline, John joined Zeno Agency Ltd as a literary agent in early 2014. John has previously run both Crime & Thriller and SF,  Fantasy & Horror lists. Zeno has a broad client base, but it best known for its genre fiction, representing major brand names such as Sunday Times bestseller Ben Aaronovitch, plus numerous award winners and literary estates. Sub-agented clients include international bestsellers Brandon Sanderson, Charlaine Harris, Peter V. Brett and William Gibson.