We’ve brought together three agents from different agencies to answer your questions on agenting. What makes a standout submission package? How will an agent support you, the author? And what are they looking for when selling a book and its rights around the world? Olivia Maidment from the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency, Justin Nash from Kate Nash Literary Agency and Catherine Pellegrino from Marjacq will answer all you need to know!
Olivia’s first experience of publishing was with an internship at the Madeleine Milburn Agency. She then went on to roles at The Blair Partnership and United Agents where she worked with bestselling and award winning authors, and global literary brands. Liv came full circle when joining the agency in 2020 where she represents literary and upmarket fiction.
Agent one-to-one appointments are available with Olivia. Once you have booked your festival ticket you will receive link and details about Olivia’s available timeslots. Please note #Agent121 sessions are charged extra at £60 each.
She is looking for engrossing contemporary and historical fiction in the literary, upmarket, and book club space. What ties her favourite novels together is powerful writing and an original insight and perspective that speaks to the way that we live now or in times gone by.
In contemporary fiction, she wants to work with authors whose work has a sense of urgency to it. She loves it when novels combine nuanced social, political, or cultural themes with a strong command of plot, beautiful writing, and compelling characters. She wants to read writers who explore their narratives with the warmth and emotional depth and deftness of author like Douglas Stuart or Bernadine Evaristo, and she is gripped by books with unique insights into the exploration of identity, such as Caleb Nelson’s Open Water, Naoise Dolan’s Exciting Times, or Torrey Peters Detransition Baby. She is also looking for novels exploring global experience with a strong sense of culture, community, and place, such as Min Jin Lee’s stunning exploration of family and diaspora in Pachinko, or Yaa Gyasi’s luminous Homegoing.
Olivia is also a huge reader of historical fiction, and is very keen to find sweeping, escapist, and richly detailed historical novels in the vein of Imogen Hermes Gowar’s The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, or Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist, as well as work that feels epic in scale and scope such as Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle or Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries.
She also really loves speculative fiction so long as the novel feels somewhat grounded in our world, as seen in the work of writers like Julia Armfield or Emily St John Mandel. Similarly, She loves to read books that blend elements of mythology and folklore with reality like in Monique Roffey’s stunning The Mermaid of Black Conch.
Olivia is also looking for beautifully written, compelling narrative non-fiction.