I work as an editor and a literary agent for publishers and authors; I specialise in memoir, narrative non-fiction, travel and adventure, literary fiction and crime fiction.

Literary agent, Westwood Creative Artists, Canada 1993-2000
I worked my way up from administrative assistant, learning about negotiation, rights and choosing saleable projects. As assistant agent and foreign rights coordinator for Bruce Westwood I worked with such authors as: Naomi Klein (No Logo), Rohinton Mistry (A Fine Balance), Alberto Manguel (A History of Reading). Then I built my own client list, offering authors guidance and support at every stage of their career, seeking out the best publishing opportunities and negotiating contracts. My award-winning, best-selling clients included Michael Redhill, Rabindranath Maharaj, Michael Turner and Jack Todd; I arranged 12 rights deals for What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel.

Editorial and rights director, Summersdale Publishers, UK 2004-2013
I acquired a broad range of commercial non-fiction, overseeing a list of 80 books a year. In 2008 we were for the first time shortlisted for both the IPG and BBIA independent publisher of the year awards and our turnover grew threefold in three years. My role involved overseeing the rights department, contract negotiation and editorial strategy. I acquired Commando Dad and An Apple a Day, both extensively covered across national media with rights sold in several countries; other successful projects included Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg, Are We Nearly There Yet? by Ben Hatch, Cocaine Wars by Mick McCaffrey, A Year in the Scheisse by Roger Boyes, Twenty Wagging Tales by Barrie Hawkins, Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard and Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler. I also helped develop the 50 Things health series and best-selling humour book concepts such as The Deranged Book for Old-Timers and Older, Wiser, Sexier.

In between I was a reader for literary agencies, wrote book club guides and catalogue copy for Random House, Knopf and Doubleday Canada, co-edited AWOL: Tales for Travel-Inspired Minds (Vintage Canada), and edited fiction such as Zimbabwean literary novel Unfeeling by Ian Holding (Scribner UK) and Canadian eco-thriller Water, Inc. by Varda Burstyn (Verso UK). 

I’m also an author, most recently of An Octopus in my Ouzo and previously Falling in Honey, published in the UK, the US and Canada, Poland and Bulgaria; after publishing my first book about South Korea, Meeting Mr Kim, I set up a social media presence for the Korea Tourism Organization in London. I've written for newspapers and magazines, and research and write books to order, e.g. The Walker's Friend and A Literary Feast.

I studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, specialising in Old and Middle English, and taught English as a foreign language in the UK and Greece. Having travelled widely and lived in several countries, I particularly enjoy working with literature that has an international flavour and books that sell globally.

1 comment:

  1. As always, beautifully written. Concise and informative. Jen, you never cease to fascinate. You have done so much with your life. I'm delighted that the agency is going so well. Peter H.