How to Hook an Agent - June 2024

8th June 2024 9:00am to 1:30pm, Bloomsbury Publishing

Are you writing a book for publication but unsure of how to find an agent? Get the inside track on the submission process from leading UK literary agents at this intimate half-day event in the heart of literary London

Held in the historic surrounds of Bloomsbury Publishing, home to authors including Margaret Atwood, Kamila Shamsie, Benjamin Myers and Sarah J. Maas, 'How to Hook an Agent' is your chance to meet and work with UK literary agents, who will help develop your pitch and offer all of the guidance you and your book need to have the best possible chance of success.
 
The event is designed for writers preparing to embark upon the process of seeking representation, or those looking for pointers after having already queried a number of agents.

Attendees can expect to be placed in small workshop groups, with all agents invited on the day spending time with each group to discuss the role that the agent plays for the writer, trends within the current publishing marketplace, and also offer plenty of practical guidance on how to grab the attention of a prospective agent via the submission package (covering letter, synopsis and opening three chapters).

All writers in attendance will enjoy a ten-minute 'speed-dating' session with an agent, while there will also be opportunities throughout to network with their writing peers.

Schedule

09.00-09.30: Registration and welcome breakfast
09.30-10.15: Seminar 1 - The role of a literary agent
10.20-11.05: Seminar 2 - The covering letter and how to pitch your book
11.15-12.00: Seminar 3 - Is my book ready? The synopsis and opening chapters
12.20-13.30: Agent one-to-one sessions

Further speakers to be announced soon!

Speaker profiles
Amandeep Singh

Amandeep Singh is an agent at TGLA. She began her career at Hamish Hamilton before working at innovative digital publisher Canelo. Keen to work even more closely with authors, she became an assistant at The Blair Partnership before joining Ebury, HarperCollins and Penguin Press, where she collaborated on books by Greta Thunberg, Grace Dent and Nikita Gill. She published only debut authors during her time at HarperCollins: Taz Alam, Dr Vanita Rattan, Oloni and Bretman Rock. Her passion for championing debuts, amplifying underrepresented voices and working in-depth editorially led her back to agenting. She has been a reader for Penguin Write Now, HarperCollins Author Academy, and BAFTA. She hopes to work with writers who enjoy collaboration; as a French and Italian (and rusty Punjabi) speaker, she is also interested in voices and topics that cross borders.

Amandeep says, "In fiction I am looking for an unforgettable voice and an emotional connection; I love both heart-wrenching and humorous stories. Writing that plays with voice and pushes form always catches my attention and I am building a list of: literary fiction and select autofiction; historical fiction in non-European settings; fantasy and select sci fi that write new ways of interrogating gender, capitalism, colonial history.

In non-fiction, I am excited by experts in their fields, original critique and unique lived experiences. I am building a list of: narrative non-fiction; memoir; essay; poetry; politics; big ideas; pop science; nature writing; cookery and food writing."

Find out more about what Amandeep likes here.

Amy St Johnston

I joined Aitken Alexander in 2018, and, alongside building my own list as an Associate Agent, I work with Clare Alexander and her stellar list of clients. I previously worked in editorial at Farshore. I started out as a reader for the agency. During that time I found How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (represented by Clare Alexander), which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize 2021, and Highway Blue by Ailsa McFarlane who was chosen as one of The Observer’s 10 best debut novelists of 2021 (represented by Emma Paterson). My clients include Charlotte Bigland, Good Morning America Book Club pick Onyi NwabineliPhoebe McIntosh and Lucy Hannah

In fiction I’m looking for propulsive novels filled with characters I’m so invested in they make me laugh/cry/worry about their life decisions, even when I’m not reading. I’m obsessed by dysfunctional families (especially dreadful mothers) and I love multi POV narratives (particularly if they tie seemingly unconnected storylines together) in the vein of Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett or The Leavers by Lisa Ko. I’m also drawn to spiky and sardonic voices that offer a slightly offbeat view of the world. I read widely across book club fiction, thrillers and literary fiction. Books I have enjoyed recently are The Bee Sting by Paul MurrayNothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny, Loved and Missed by Susie Boyt, A Town Called Solace by Mary LawsonHappy Hour by Marlowe Granados, Memorial by Bryan WashingtonGirl A by Abigail Dean, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and (very late to the party) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I love Kate Atkinson, Elena Ferrante, Gwendoline Riley and Sarah Moss. I am a huge fan of psychological suspense and stories with killer twists or heart-wrenching hooks but I am also interested in finding a really smart locked-room mystery with a bit of an edge (I’m thinking Jonathan Creek meets Jackson Brodie). 

In nonfiction I am looking for thrilling and affecting narratives that make you think ‘if this was fiction you’d never believe it’. I’m also interested in social and political history as well as investigative reporting on institutional injustice and malpractice. Philomena by Martin Sixsmith, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, Kiss Myself Goodbye by Ferdinand Mount and About a Son by David Whitehouse all fit the bill.

I do not represent picture books, high-concept fantasy or sci-fi.

Imogen Pelham

Imogen Pelham represents non-fiction which looks at serious subjects in innovative ways, and literary and upmarket fiction.

In non-fiction, her list covers history, science, memoir, cookery, cultural criticism, social issues, and psychology. Her authors include Hattie Crisell of the podcast In Writing, food critic and journalist Jimi Famurewa, political journalist Marie Le Conte, critic Philippa Snow, and bestselling historian Kassia St Clair.

Her fiction authors include Annie Garthwaite, Brydie Lee-Kennedy, Chris McQueer, and Yara Rodrigues Fowler (one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, Goldsmiths Prize shortlisted, Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlisted).

In non-fiction, she is particularly interested in identity, the arts, and investigative journalism. She is drawn to books which have interesting takes on the everyday, which shine a light on an unexplored aspect of history or ourselves, and which encourage us to think more deeply about our place in the world.

In fiction, she is looking for outstanding writing which shines a light on humanity, an unforgettable cast of characters, literary thrillers, and smart women's fiction.

https://www.marjacq.com/imogen-pelham.html

Kiya Evans

Kiya Evans joined Mushens Entertainment as Juliet Mushens' assistant in 2021. She was promoted to Associate Agent in 2023, working across Juliet’s client list, which contains multiple Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers, and is actively building her own list of authors.

After graduating with a BA in History and English from Oxford, Kiya completed two internships at Mushens Entertainment, before joining as a full-time member of the team. She was a judge of last year’s Brick Lane Books Short Story Prize, and will judge this year’s inaugural Goldfinch Novel Award.

Kiya would love to see… a fresh take on the classic love story, a horror or mystery steeped in gothic tones or dark academia, and queer stories in all their forms.

For fiction, Kiya is looking for: commercial and upmarket fiction in the romance (whether sweeping, speculative, or commercial), grounded SFF/romantasy, historical, book club, literary, and thriller/psychological fiction spaces. She is not opposed to magical realism or speculative twists when driven by a strong hook, and is particularly on the lookout for high-concept romance, or a gothic, dark academic mystery. She would love to find a feminist, contemporary horror, in the vein of Carmen Maria Machado or Julia Armfield, and is particularly searching for a romcom in the vein of Emily Henry or Beth O’Leary.

For non-fiction, Kiya is looking for: Narrative non-fiction that explores culture/modern society, and popular history.

You can follow her on Twitter @kiyarosevans.

Find out more about submitting to Kiya here: https://www.mushens-entertainment.com/kiya-evans

Booking & payment

This event is priced at £175 (incl. VAT). This fee is payable in full online, though please note that payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services. Contact W&A Admin on events@writersandartists.co.uk so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for more How to Hook an Agent dates by visiting our Events homepage. If you would like to be added to the waiting list for this particular event, please email events@writersandartists.co.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

To view our event refund and cancellation policy, please click here.

Accessible to All

It’s of real importance to Writers & Artists that our events and courses remain accessible to all.

  • This event will take place at the offices of Bloomsbury Publishing, which is fully accessible. If you’d like to attend but have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, then please email AccessWA@bloomsbury.com

  • Writers & Artists has made one bursary place available for this event as part of our accessibility scheme. Please visit our bursaries page to find out how to apply for a bursary to the event. 

  • Payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services, as part of our accessibility scheme
  • Joining instructions and full guidance will be circulated by W&A Admin in the days leading up to the date of the event.

  • Supplementary materials will be made available to all participants on the day of the event. This will include written text and visuals. Please contact us in advance so that we can make arrangements to be sure all documents appear in a format that works for you.

  • There will be no recording of this event, so please be sure to bring a notebook or laptop to make the notes you need.

  • Food will be provided at this event. Please be sure to respond to the joining instruction emails from W&A Admin if you have any dietary requirements

Location

Bloomsbury Publishing
50 Bedford Square
London
WC1B 3DP
United Kingdom

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