Agent & Author Meetings
Everyone booking a ticket at the Festival is entitled to Two Ten Minute One-to-One sessions. You can choose to have both your 1-1 sessions with agents/publishers, both with book doctors, or you can choose one of each.
The agents and publishers are looking for talented new authors - so these sessions provide the opportunity to pitch your work to industry gatekeepers. The Book Doctors are experienced in editorial feedback
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 to discover this and all slot availabilties. It is important to keep in mind the different types of feedback on offer:
Jon Appleton has had a varied career as an editor of fiction for children and young adults: most recently at Hodder, previously for Orion, A & C Black and Scholastic, with freelance spells in between. Over the years, authors he’s worked with include Jan Mark, Caroline Lawrence and Terry Deary, and he’s a regular speaker at conferences for new writers. Jon published his first novel, Ready to Love in June 2016. It’s a comedy of modern manners, based around office and family life.
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.
Catherine joined Curtis Brown in Spring 2015 to work with Jonny Geller on his incredible list of fiction and non-fiction. She worked as a literary assistant and Contracts Manager for Folio Literary Management in New York and then moved to London. She's currently building her own list of fiction and non-fiction. She's particularly looking to work with debut novelists.
She's drawn to atmospheric settings and great storytelling. She loves books that transport you – stories with magical realism and speculative elements (time travel or high concept). She's drawn to historical fiction, and she also enjoy science fiction and fantasy (Robin Hobb, Justin Cronin). She would love to find novels that transcend genre, like Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell or Margaret Atwood.
In terms of non-fiction, she's looking for narrative memoir, science writing, and lifestyle titles - something that presents an unusual perspective.
Ben works with Julian Alexander. His tastes range from the agricultural (he once worked on a farm where he had to do ‘some horrible things involving sheep’) to the culinary (he has eaten a lot of things, including sea urchins, out of politeness). His dreams include buying his own Hundred Aker Wood, speaking Spanish well enough to communicate with his grandmother in her native tongue, and retraining as an astronaut. Ben loves smart non-fiction, literary speculative fiction, books with a lot of heart and those that cunningly blend genres. His non-fiction tastes are varied but is particularly interested in the areas of philosophy, memoir, technology, science, business and nature writing. He gets excited when a writer comes at an idea from a bizarre and unexpected angle. He’s also a wizard with contracts.
Julie Crisp is an editor with over fifteen year’s experience working for three major houses across a broad spectrum of commercial titles within fiction, non-fiction and children’s. Until recently she headed up the UK arm of one of the largest global brands of science fiction and fantasy, Tor. She's worked on bestselling and award-winning authors such as Ann Cleeves, Peter F. Hamilton and China Mieville, and TV/Game partnerships including Halo, The Returned, The Walking Dead and Twin Peaks.
She's a commercially-minded editor with a depth of experience and good working knowledge of the current market.
For her agency: She's actively looking for exciting new novels in science fiction and fantasy, crime/thrillers, book club fiction, young adult and middle-grade children’s fiction.
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.
Eleanor Dryden is responsible for the growing women’s fiction department at Bonnier Publishing. Before this she was publishing director of Avon, HarperCollins’ commercial fiction arm, as publishing director of its adult fiction imprint Zaffre.
Dryden spent three years at HarperCollins and has previously worked at Pan Macmillan, Orion, Constable and Robinson, and Waterstones. During her career she has worked with authors such as Jeffrey Archer, Kate Mosse, Claudia Carroll, Julia Williams, Tracy Buchanan, Angela Clarke and Scott Mariani.
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).
Kerry Fisher - self-published, traditionally published and now published by Bookouture, digital only publishers. Kerry Fisher self-published her debut novel, which was picked up by Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins, and republished as The School Gate Survival Guide. Her second book, The Island Escape, was a Kindle bestseller, reaching number two in the Amazon charts. Her latest novel, After The Lie, was published by digital only imprint, Bookouture. She is open and honest about publishing highs and lows - you can ask her anything!
Emma is actively building a list of exciting new writers of both fiction and narrative non-fiction. On the fiction side, she doesn't like to be too prescriptive, but she does love novels that explore those moments that define our lives and collective experience: falling in or out of love; dealing with loss; navigating frailty, friendship, dysfunction or loneliness. She's also drawn to novels about families, relationships of all kinds, that are sharply observed with a clever psychology.
She's not particularly led by genre but is broadly on the lookout for literary / upmarket book group fiction, high concept novels and crime or thrillers driven by a compelling lead. She doesn't represent children's or YA fiction.
She'd also love to see great food writing, big ideas books that help us to think about the world today, pop science, memoir or life writing and narrative non-fiction of all kinds, although she's particularly keen to find new writing on race, gender and sexuality.
Jenny Geras is Publishing Director at Bookouture. Previously, she was Publishing Director at Arrow, the commercial paperback imprint of Cornerstone, where her authors included Dorothy Koomson, Donna Douglas, Debbie Macomber and Emma Kavanagh. Prior to that she was Editorial Director for women's fiction at Pan Macmillan.
Shelley Harris' debut novel Jubilee was ‘discovered’ at the The Festival of Writing. It has been a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club choice, a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Vigilante!, follows the story of Jenny, a mother who finds something extraordinary to do in her ordinary life – become a superhero. "Entertainment wrapped round a tense thriller" ~ The Times. "Shelley Harris' writing is witty and beautifully poignant. Vigilante is shocking, empowering and hilariously funny throughout." ~ We Love This Book
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.
Penny has worked in publishing for over twenty years for publishers Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US and then as an agent with Caroline Sheldon. She's looking for brilliant stories, uniquely narrated for all ages and for illustrators who can also write.
Holroyde Cartey launched in 2015 and represent a quality list of award-winning and best-selling authors and illustrators primarily in publishing, but also in licensing, and film and television across the world.
After studying English Literature and Medieval Studies at university, Louise joined the literary agency AP Watt Ltd after a brief spell in the world of film development. Louise worked with Caradoc King and his clients for seven years, while also building her own list. In 2013, she moved to LBA.
She is particularly looking for writers and illustrators for children and teen readers: strong, sharp storytelling with a hint of humour and a sense of adventure.
Federica's experience in publishing is broad-ranging: it includes four years in the Foreign Rights department at Ed Victor Ltd, a prominent literary agency representing among others Nigella Lawson, Frederick Forsyth, John Banville and Edna O'Brien, and three years in the contracts department at the Orion Publishing Group. More recently she spent two and a half years at Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency, where she worked alongside David Miller and Peter Robinson with authors such as Victoria Hislop, Kate Summerscale, Ian Rankin, David Starkey and Joanne Harris, while at the same time building her own list.
In July 2016 she the plunge and set up Martin Leonardis Literary Management.
She's looking for: Commercial, cross-over and reading-group fiction, cookery, and smart thinking, lifestyle, life stories and self-help.
Laura has a Classics degree and a Masters in Latin from Oxford. She started her publishing career as an editor at Hodder & Stoughton, commissioning historical, crime and debut literary novels. She worked with internationally bestselling authors such as Stephen King and David Nicholls and set up Hodder’s historical fiction community. She was a judge on the 2014 Green Carnation Prize which celebrates the best of LGBT writing.
Laura’s list covers literary, book club, historical and crime fiction and narrative non-fiction from memoir to music, politics and popular culture. Laura works closely with Kevin managing the Wilbur Smith co-authored projects.
Sarah Manning is an agent in the UK Literary Division. She is looking to actively build her list and represents both fiction and non-fiction. Sarah’s taste is varied and she enjoys crime, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, accessible literary fiction, fantasy and YA. She likes big ideas that look at events or characters from new perspectives.
Please do not send her: middle grade, picture books, erotica or poetry.
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, wpublished by Simon and Schuster. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.
Imogen Pelham joined Marjacq as a literary agent in 2015, after five years at Aitken Alexander where she started building her list, which includes Wellcome Prize shortlisted Emily Mayhew, and Costa Short Story Award winner Angela Readman. Imogen represents character-led, often dark literary fiction and non-fiction which looks at its subject in innovative ways, including cookery, design, history, medicine and psychology. She would like more of the same, but in fiction is also looking for standalone conceptual psychological thrillers and novels with a great distinctive voice and sense of humour. In non-fiction she loves investigative journalism and stories of unusual people.
Joanne Phillips is an Amazon bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary mysteries, romantic comedies, and women’s fiction. She has a Masters degree in creative writing and is a high-profile indie author, and a champion of quality in self-publishing. Joanne can be found at www.joannephillips.co.uk where she blogs about writing, publishing and all things books.
She runs The Writers' Workshop Self-Publishing Success online course.
Before joining Felicity Bryan as an agent in 2016, Carrie worked for five years at Conville & Walsh Literary Agency. At FBA she was actively building a list of non-fiction and fiction clients, with a focus on debut authors. She loves well-written non-fiction by authors who are passionate – perhaps even bordering on obsessive – about a topic, and she has a particular interest in popular science, nature writing, big ideas, history, travel, sport, health, women, art and music. On the fiction side: she represents literary and book-club titles. She'se drawn to unique and diverse voices, atmospheric settings, coming-of-age stories and books that capture the zeitgeist. She also hosts a monthly books radio show called Literary Friction.
Sandra joined Marjacq in March 2014 after two years of working for UK publishers and a variety of placements with agencies. Prior to that she was studying and completed two degrees - MA in American Literature from Warsaw University and MA in Publishing from Kingston. Sandra takes care of the worldwide foreign language rights for all authors represented by Marjacq, and is actively building a list of her own clients in English. She is currently searching for great historical upmarket fiction, gothic mysteries, pacey, fun space operas, road novels and pretty much anything with a university setting. Comedies and spiritual stuff are just not her thing. Sandra would like to focus on building the grown-up side of her list. but will look at YA/MG submissions, if they are amazing.
After the birth of my third child 16 years ago, I gave up my enjoyable career as a Publisher in academic publishing, specialising in criminology. Luckily, while subsequently volunteering once a week to sort through the slush-pile of a leading literary agency, I discovered a beautiful novel that went on to win the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Richard & Judy Summer Read of Summer Reads. Since then I have worked in a freelance capacity for Bloomsbury, Orion, Penguin and Transworld editing authors such as Joanna Briscoe, James Runcie, Kamila Shamsie, Sheila Hancock, Damian Barr and Rev Richard Coles.
As a Book Doctor and Ghost, I have worked on several books for Orion and Penguin including An African Love Story, a biography of Kate Middleton, an account of the Iranian Embassy Siege and memoirs ranging from a wartime childhood in a Derbyshire mining village to a member of the Royal Family.
Kathryn Taussig is a commissioning editor at Quercus, part of Hachette UK. She specialises primarily in commercial fiction, including women's fiction, psychological thrillers and historical fiction. Amongst others, she has worked with Richard & Judy bestselling author Tracy Rees on her novels Amy Snow and Florence Grace, as well as publishing the top-ten kindle bestseller While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green. She's originally from San Francisco, California but has lived in the UK for more than a decade.
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
Debbie is the founder and Editorial Director of Mslexia magazine. She has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues. Her books include My Children, My Gold (Virago), a travelogue about single mothers, and The Fourth Queen (Penguin), a novel set in a harem in 18th Century Morocco. Her latest novel, Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery, is out now.
Mslexia is the best-selling literary magazine in the UK. It combines expert advice and information about writing with mind-expanding fiction and poetry.
Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. Clare is building the children’s list and is scouting for new authors of picture books, middle grade, teenage, YA and illustrators. Clare also represents a boutique list of commercial and accessible literary women’s fiction but is closed to new submissions.
At the Agency Clare represents authors both in the UK and the US including Rosie Blake, Caroline Crowe, Kerry Fisher, Martyn Ford, Helen Grant, Polly Ho-Yen, Cesca Major, Gillian McAllister, KL Slater, Olivia Hope, Adam Perrott, Beth Reekles, Dave Rudden, Phaedra Patrick, Sophie Cousens, Olivia Levez and Kim Slater and illustrators Claire Mackie, Claire Powell and Lorna Scobie.
Clare formerly assisted the Luxton Harris Ltd literary agency. Graduating with a first from a BA in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University, Clare went on to gain a distinction on the MA in Creative Writing. She has proof-listened to hundreds of adults and children’s audio books for AudioGO and worked for Cardiff University as a research assistant and coach to international students.”
Jo represents across all ages in children’s publishing from picture books to YA. She is particularly keen on classic Middle Grade adventures, thought-provoking YA and books that our multi-cultural society . Above all, anything with characters whose voices and stories linger long after the book is finished.
Laura Williams is an agent at Peters Fraser and Dunlop, where she has been working since 2011, after completing a degree in Classics at Oxford. She is actively building a fiction list and a small non-fiction list. She enjoys working with debut authors, and getting stuck in editorially. She is currently looking for edgy literary and commercial fiction, psychological thrillers and high-concept contemporary young adult.
Andrew Wille has devoted his career to working with books and writers. As senior editor at Little, Brown in London, he edited and acquired many bestselling and critically acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, and subsequently as a freelance editor has worked for most of the UK’s largest publishers as well as many independent presses. He has lived in the United States and Australia, and studied and taught at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where he developed a strong interest in contemplative and holistic approaches to writing and creativity. Andrew regularly speaks and offers editorial guidance at writers’ events, and as a book doctor supports many writers from the start of new projects through to publication and beyond. He also writes fiction and nonfiction. More information as well as resources on writing and publishing can be found at www.wille.org.
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.
Susan started her career in publishing in the early ’90s and gained valuable experience at, amongst other publishers, Virago (now part of Little, Brown Book Group) and Penguin Books Ltd (Penguin Random House). Susan completed an MPhil in Critical and Creative Writing before founding SYA eight years ago, starting the successful careers of debut writers Kerry Young (shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award) and Prajwal Parajuly (shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize). The agency represents a broad range of adult fiction and non-fiction as well as children’s and YA fiction.