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30 Agents |50 Workshops | Authors | Editors | Friday Night Live

FRIDAY 9​TH​ TO SUNDAY 11​TH​ SEPTEMBER Writing is hard - and it's usually solitary. The Festival aims to give you three massive wins in the course of one, mind-blowing weekend: 1) We help you improve your writing​. We've got workshops on almost everything you can think of and we can virtually guarantee that you'll leave us with your mind expanded and your writing better. 2) We help you meet the industry.​ Our Festival is alive with literary agents, authors and publishers. If you want to pitch your work direct to an agent, you can. If you want to talk over a beer with a publisher, you can. If you want to pick the brains of professional authors in your genre, then please feel free. 3) We give you an amazing time​. Our Festival is famous for its warmth, its inclusiveness, its inspirational quality - and its amazing atmosphere.

The Programme for The Festival of Writing, 2016 Friday 9th 13.00 - 14.00

Registration for those attending Mini Courses

14.00 - 17.00

Mini courses (pre-booked optional extra) • The Women’s Fiction Masterclass, with Julie Cohen • A Do-It-Yourself MA in Creative Writing, with Andrew Wille • The Historical Fiction Masterclass, with Emma Darwin • Self-Editing Your Novel, with Debi Alper • Self-Publish Like A Pro, with David Gaughran • The Golden Rules Of Children's Fiction, with Brian Keaney

17.00 – 18.00

. ​Industry Meet & Greet: Come along to meet agents,

publishers and book doctors

15.00 - 18.00

Registration and collection of room keys

16.00 - 17.00 18.00 -

Afternoon tea - dip out, drop-in Bar opens ~ mix and mingle with agents, editors and fellow writers



20.45 - 21.45

Friday Night Live The pre-selected delegates will read out 500 words of their manuscript - they’ll receive feedback from a panel of agents, publishers and authors. In​ ​2014​, having won the Friday Night Live Comp ​Joanna Cannon​ walked away with seven offers from literary agents. She decided to sign with Susan Armstrong, and The Borough Press acquired Jo’s novel shortly afterwards. THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP was published in January 2016. Within a fortnight of publication, it reached #3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list. ​In 2013​, after

reading for Friday Night Live, writer ​Deborah Install​, was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and was soon the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal. A Robot in the Garden was a Doubleday hardback in April 2015, and was published as a Black Swan paperback in early 2016.

Saturday 10th 08.00



Registration for Saturday arrivals

9.10 - 10.10

Festival Welcome & Keynote Address ​with C.L. Taylor ​(Central Hall).

10.10 - 10.40

Coffee break & book signing

10.40 - 11.40

Workshops - Session 1 • Jeremy Sheldon - “Why aren't you writing in sequences?” • Tracy Rees - Overcoming Obstacles to Writing Success • Brian Keaney - Look Who's Talking; the importance of voice in children's fiction. • Julie Cohen - First 100 Words Challenge • Piers Blofeld - Rejection: Live! • Kathryn Taussig - Shaping Your Commercial Novel: Pitch, Plot and

Pacing in Commercial Fiction • Laura Williams - Writing Tips: Rules are Made to be Broken 11.50 - 12.50

Genre Panel/ Q&As

Literary Fiction, Reading group Fiction, Children's/Young Adult​ ,​ Science Fiction/Fantasy, Crime/Thriller/Mystery​, ​Historical Fiction​, ​Script Writing


Buffet Lunch

14.00 - 15.00

Industry Keynote: Sophie Buchan, Jenny Savill & Harry Bingham

15.10 - 16.10

Workshops - Session 2 • Debi Alper - POV/Psychic Distance • Daren King - "Thriller Plotting Techniques - For Writers of All Kinds of Fiction" • Jenny Ashcroft - Making Historical Fiction Relevant & Commercial • Julia Churchill - How to elevate your submission • Andrew Wille - Trusting Your Voice • Kerry Fisher - What you didn't know you needed to know about publishing • Sharon Zink - GROUP COACHING . Get Productive: Handy Tips for the Hectic Writer

16.10 - 16.40

Afternoon Tea

16.40 - 17.40

Workshops - Session 3 • Emma Darwin - Showing and Telling. • Louise Buckley - First paragraphs: How to grab the reader on the first page • Harry Bingham - The Prose Laboratory - basics • C M Taylor - Character is Destiny, Part One: Basis • Hal Duncan - When is a Chapter not a Chapter? • David Gaughran - Should You Self-Publish? A Beginners Guide • C.L. Taylor and her literary agent Madeleine Milburn - From pitch to publication

18.45 - 19.15

Gala Dinner Reception Drinks​ ~ Come along to meet agents, editors and fellow writers.


Gala Dinner & Competition Presentations

Sunday 11th 08.00



Registration for Sunday arrivals

09.20 - 10.00

Futurecast 2016: The future of publishing

10.10 - 11.10

Workshops - Session 4 • Emma Darwin - Literary Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction • Harry Bingham - The Prose Laboratory - advanced • Susan Yearwood - How to attract an agent. • Jeremy Sheldon - "Save the best to last: Plotting and how to climax in every genre" • Kerry Fisher - 'From pipe dream to publication: ten ways to increase your book's chance of success'? • Andrew Wille - Raising the Tone • How to Hook an Agent and Get a Book Deal. Featuring Slushpile Live

11.10 - 11.40

Coffee break & author book signings

11.40 - 12.40

Workshops - Session 5 • Julie Cohen - The Art of the Rewrite • Brian Keaney - Rites Of Passage - the role of insight in children's fiction • James Wills - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Agents (But Were Too Afraid to Ask) • Daren King - "Stealth Sentence Secrets" • Sharon Zink - GROUP COACHING . Tame Your Inner Critic • Jenny Ashcroft - Moving from First Draft to Publishing Deal (the things I wish I’d known)


Buffet Lunch

14.00 - 15.00

Workshops - Session 6

• Debi Alper - Dialogue: Look Who's Talking Too • C.M Taylor - Character is Destiny, Part Two: Application • Tracy Rees - A Creative Endeavour in a Business World. • Hal Duncan - The Power of Point of View • Marilia Savvides - How to globalise your writing career • David Gaughran - The Secrets of Successful Self-Publishers • Ruth Bennett - Hooked on Books: Creating young fiction that readers will love! 15.10 - 15.50

Keynote Address with Jo Cannon. Jo attended the 2014 Festival of Writing, where she won the Friday Night Live competition with her story about two little girls in the summer of ’76. Within forty-eight hours of leaving York, she had received offers of representation from a number of literary agents, and she went on to sign with Sue Armstrong of Conville and Walsh. The Borough Press (HarperCollins) acquired Jo’s novel shortly afterwards, and ​THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP​ was published in January 2016. Within a fortnight of publication, it reached #3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list.

15.50 - 16.00

Wrap-up & farewells

One-to-One Sessions Everyone booking a ticket at the Festival is entitled to ​two ten minute 1-to-1 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:

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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 doctors are there to give feedback, but will alert the Festival organisers if they come across material that might be ready to present to agents. In which case, the organisers will do what they can to get the material into the right hands. Please also be aware that agents and book doctors will adopt a variety of approaches. Agents are there to answer the question, is this work marketable as it stands? Do be aware that agents may sometimes only need to read a few pages of your work to answer this question effectively: that's not because they're lazy; it's because they're good at their jobs. Their feedback is still absolutely invaluable. Book doctors are there to answer the question, what steps do I need to take to make my work marketable? With the book doctor (but not normally with the agent) you will get brief written notes summarising the comments. The one to one sessions are the most formal part of proceedings, but we hope you will chat to agents etc. over tea or in the evening. Some of the best contacts are made this way.


With a degree in history, Jenny has always been fascinated by the past, in particular the way that extraordinary events can transform the lives of normal people. After graduating, she spent many years living and working in Australia and Asia – a time which gave her a real passion for stories set in exotic places. She began writing herself in 2012 and, whilst still working full time, wrote her first novel, Remember Me - a love story set during the First World War. This was published in Germany in October 2014 by Goldmann/ Random House. She now writes full time and her UK debut, Beneath a Burning Sky, will be published in November 2016 by Sphere/ Little, Brown. Jenny is represented by Rebecca Ritchie at Curtis Brown.

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.


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.

Publisher: Ruth Bennett,​ ​Stripes Publishing

Ruth is Commissioning Editor at Stripes Publishing, the fiction imprint of Little Tiger, editing books for 5 year olds to teens. She loves working on such a huge variety of books, from cute stories about puppies with lovely illustrations to high-action adventure stories and mouth-watering romances! Every day is different in the Stripes office and Ruth loves building relationships with authors and helping bring their stories to readers.

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: Louise Buckley,​ ​Zeno Literary Agency

Before joining Zeno Agency, Louise spent six years working as an editor for Pan Macmillan and Dorling Kindersley publishers.

As an agent, she has broad tastes. In fiction, she looks for stories with compelling protagonists, and for her that means protagonists who want something – if your character doesn’t know what they want, then she – and the reader – will lose interest immediately. She also loves novels that pose important questions, that ask ‘what if’ in a bold and imaginative way. She enjoys reading all kinds of genres, from action-packed thrillers and cosy crime novels, to high-concept SF or emotionally powerful YA. She loves reading books that transport her to exotic locations and stories that tug on the heartstrings (bonus points if you make her cry). She also really enjoy reading sumptuous, epic historical fiction and loves anything with a hint of magic. She is not looking for any children’s or picture books, poetry or non-fiction.

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.

Book Doctor: ​Emma Darwin

Emma’s debut novel '​ ' 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, ​ , was published in 2008; the Daily Mail acclaimed it as “powerful and utterly convincing”, and ​ as one of their 50 Best Paperbacks of 2009.Emma is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing with the Open University.

Agent: Broo Doherty,​ ​D H H Literary Agency

Broo graduated from Downing College Cambridge and then started working in publishing, where she has worked for the last twenty years. She has worked right across the board in publishing houses and as an agent. She handles all genres, excluding children’s books and sci-fi, but particularly enjoys crime, women's commercial fiction, literary fiction ​and quirky non-fiction. In 2013 she was voted Literary Agent of the Year by the Festival of Romance.

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 ​ 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).

Publisher: Sam Eades,​ ​Orion

Sam Eades is a publicist and senior commissioning editor with nine years’ experience, having previously worked at Transworld Publishers, Headline and Macmillan. Eades joined Orion in 2015 as a Senior Commissioning Editor and Associate Publicist, working in the Orion Fiction team. She is now commissioning commercial fiction for Trapeze, looking for great writing with a broad appeal. She is looking for standout voices in the crime, psychological suspense, reading group and women’s fiction areas.

Agent: Josephine Hayes,​ ​Blair Partnership

Jo joined Bell Lomax Moreton in 2010 as agency assistant and was made an agent in 2013. Now at The Blair Partnership, her list is fairly diverse and still growing. She is on the look-out for commercial women’s fiction – anything with strong characters that you fall in love with and worry about when you’re not reading, a historical edge, or an emotional pull suitable for reading group fiction, and children’s (6+), teen and YA fiction with gripping plots that keep you totally engrossed.

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.

Book Doctor: ​Brian Keaney

Brian has written fifteen novels for young people, including The Hollow People, published in 2006, the first in his fantasy trilogy. Brian has also written over forty non-fiction books, including text books for schoolchildren, books about learning for parents, and training materials for teachers and teaching assistants. His works have been published by OUP, CUPress, Heinemann, Stanley Thornes, Macmillan Educational, Hodder and Ebury Press.

Book Doctor: ​Daren King

Daren has written since he was old enough to pick up a pen without putting it in his mouth. His first children's novel, Mouse Noses on Toast, won first prize in the 6-8 age category of the Nestle Children's Book Prize, and his debut adult novel, Boxy an Star, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for the Booker Prize. His books have been published around the world, including Canada and the US, and have been translated into Italian, German and Russian.

Agent: Rowan Lawton,​ ​Furniss Lawton

After 10 years of agenting at WME and PFD, Rowan co-founded Furniss Lawton. Rowan represents writers of both fiction and non-fiction and her taste is wide-ranging. In terms of new clients, she is particularly looking for debut novelists who can tell a cracking story with real emotional depth and vivid characters. If the writing can make her cry, then even better. She also loves commercial women’s fiction and is always on the lookout for fresh, original voices in this area, as well as thrillers – particularly those with a domestic set-up. On the non-fiction side, strong personal stories, cookery and memoir always appeal.

Agent: Sarah Manning,​ ​United Agents

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.

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.

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, 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.


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.

Agent: Zoe Ross,​ ​United Agents

Zoe has a first class degree in Modern Languages from the University of Cambridge, and began her career in publishing at Yale University Press. After a year out to complete a Masters in psychoanalytic theory at UCL, she then joined United Agents in 2009, working initially in the foreign rights department. Since 2013 she has been building a list of exciting writers of both fiction and non-fiction, and has a particular interest in literary fiction laced with black humour, and cookery.


Alice read Anthropology and Publishing at Oxford Brookes University. Following this, she worked as a Rights Manager at Quadrille Publishing Ltd., before joining LAW as an agent in 2001. Alice has an insatiable appetite for storytelling old and new. Her tastes are eclectic, her championship unstinting. She’s a fan of strong, passionate voices, dry, witty retorts, and – a particular treat in this digital age – retains a telephone manner that borders on the hypnotic. She’s always on the lookout for any excuse to spend more time with anyone and anything food related, explore new ideas and celebrate innovation, to work with those who push the envelope in any field, to lose herself in epic narrative of all kinds – and to find new ways of sharing works of genius with the world.

Agent: Jenny Savill,​ ​Andrew Nurnberg Associates

Jenny represents authors of fiction and non-fiction writing for both children and adults. Following an MA in Mediaeval History and a stint in the theatre, Jenny joined Andrew Nurnberg Associates in 2002 and is a Senior agent for the UK and US markets. A lifelong love of children's books has led her to build a strong and respected list of children's and YA authors. Always keen to find new voices in 7+, Middle Grade and Young Adult writing, Jenny also represents an increasing number of authors writing for adults. She is on the look-out for writers of both commercial and literary fiction, women's fiction, psychological suspense, historical fiction, memoir and narrative non-fiction. High fantasy is not her thing, though she is partial to a story with a slight, speculative thread running through it. She welcomes originality, depth, and the ability to move and surprise in submissions.

Agent: Sandra Sawicka,​ ​Marjacq Scripts

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.

Agent: Marilia Savvides,​ ​Peters Fraser and Dunlop

Marilia Savvides is an Agent in the Books Division and the International Rights Department. She joined Peters, Fraser + Dunlop in 2012 and is a graduate of UCL and the Columbia Publishing Course in New York. Marilia will be on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University, Exeter College in September 2016. She is currently building her own list of authors and in particular is looking for high concept crime, thrillers, horror, speculative fiction and YA novels. On the non-fiction side she is especially interested in popular science / psychology, narrative history, true crime and investigative journalism.

She also works alongside Alexandra Cliff, Rebecca Wearmouth and Laura Otal promoting PFD’s clients around the world and securing foreign language sales. She handles rights in The Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Israel, Russia, China, Taiwan and Korea.


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 was an in-house editor for ten years (Macmillan Children’s Books & Headline) before making the move to the D H H Literary Agency. Because of this background she’s very hands on editorially and loves to help her writers develop their ideas for commercial success. She represents authors across children’s fiction (from 9+ including teen & YA – Abi Elphinstone, Keris Stainton, Honor & Perdita Cargill) and a small number of adult fiction authors (Adam Hamdy, Dan Tyte, Elizabeth Warner). She likes stories that push the boundaries, have a strong voice and, often, a dark edge – although she’d love to find a great contemporary romance too. Follow her on twitter @YA_Books


Emma joined Orion in 2013 and is now an editor commissioning commercial non-fiction for Trapeze, from pop science and gift humour to inspirational memoir and lifestyle. For the new imprint Trapeze, Emma wants to break exciting new talents, like the upcoming debut from Rubyetc (It's All Absolutely Fine). She is looking for books that make readers laugh, cry, learn and keep turning pages – whether that’s a quirky gift book, a true crime thriller or a fascinating life story.


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.

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

Agent: Chris Wellbelove,​ ​Greene & Heaton

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.

Agent: Laura Williams,​ ​Peters Fraser and Dunlop

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.

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​ ​​.


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: SUSAN YEARWOOD,​ SUSAN YEARWOOD AGENCY 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.

Book Doctor:​ Sharon Zink

Sharon has provided editorial services to publishers and private clients worldwide, from beginners to published authors. A former English Literature academic, having studied at London and Cambridge, she possess fifteen years of teaching experience, including extensive knowledge of mentoring writers through all stages of the writing and submission process. Sharon’s first novel, Welcome to Sharonville, was published last year by Unthank Books and was longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award. She edits fiction though her range is broad, spanning from literary fiction through women's commercial to crime and sci-fi. She has also worked with writers on non-fiction and academic book proposals, as well as editing poetry collections since she was previously Young Poet of the Year. Having worked with authors and publishers from across the globe, Sharon is also conversant with the nuances of American and Australian English and aware of the differences relating to international book markets.

Festival of Writing 2016 Competitions Friday Night Live An amazing opportunity that could lead straight to an agent - and a book deal. Here's how it works: You send us up to​ ​500​ ​words from your manuscript.

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● We'll pick the seven entries we like the best. ● The seven shortlisted writers will​ ​read their work out on Friday night​. ● We'll have some expert judges to offer their views ... But the final vote will be left to the Festival audience. The winner gets a bottle of fizz. Better still, you'll get the attention of every agent in the room.

The wonderful track record of success:​ ​In ​2014​, having won the Friday Night Live Comp Joanna Cannon​ ​walked away with seven offers from literary agents. She decided to sign

with Susan Armstrong, and The Borough Press (HarperCollins) acquired Jo’s novel shortly afterwards. THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP was published in January 2016. Within a fortnight of publication, it reached #3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list. In ​2013​, after reading for Friday Night Live, writer​ ​Deborah Install,​ ​ ​was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and was soon the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal. A Robot in the Garden was a Doubleday hardback in April 2015, and was published as a Black Swan paperback in early 2016. From great beginnings: In its inaugural year, the winner of the comp was​ ​Shelley Harris​, ​who was offered representation by a number of different agents as a result. She signed up with Conville & Walsh, who had multiple publishers interested. Weidenfeld & Nicolson won the auction ... and this book and her next are available from all good bookshops. This year could easily be your year, ​you just need to enter! ​And to do just this, all you need to do is: One entry per ticket. If you're chosen as one of the seven, you will need to be present on the Friday night, so do make sure your ticket includes the full Festival weekend - or at least make sure that you can get to York for that evening.

Best opening chapter J​udged by​ ​Agent Jenny Savill and Author Tor Udall​.

Here's how it works: you send us your opening chapter (up to a max of 3000​ words) plus a ​one-paragraph description ​of the book. ● We'll winnow the entries down to a shortlist of 6 or so, then we'll pass on those entries to our judging panel of top agent, ​Jenny Savill​, and a Festival of Writing success story, ​Tor Udall​. T​hey'll then pick a winner and two runners-up.

We welcome fiction and non-fiction; work aimed at adults or children; and any genre at all. If your book contains a prologue, we suggest you skip that and send the first chapter instead - but we don't know your book and can't advise you. It's up to you to make the call. Just send us a maximum of 3000 words drawn from the start of your book. Winner and runners up will be announced at the Gala Dinner on Saturday night. The winner will be invited to read a short extract from their work following the dinner - but that's optional.

Pitch Perfect 2016. Judged by​ ​Marjacq Agents Philip Patterson, Sandra Sawicka and Imogen Pelham If a book doesn't have a strong, convincing and intriguing concept, your book will not be taken on by an agent. Philip, Sandra and Imogen are looking for the best elevator pitch of 2016. We're wanting your best one paragraph (max 150 words) book pitches – one children’s prize and one adults. It needs to be a ​grabbing, easily communicated concise description​ ​of what your story is about.

Festival of Writing in York 2016  

To find out what happened at our 2016 Festival please explore these pages. Do join us this year! Taking place from Friday 8th September to...

Festival of Writing in York 2016  

To find out what happened at our 2016 Festival please explore these pages. Do join us this year! Taking place from Friday 8th September to...