Bookseeker Literary Agency

Introducing authors and publishers.


An exciting new client!

We here at Bookseeker Literary Agency are very pleased to welcome Jessica Secmezsoy-Urquhart as a client. In what is an unprecedented move for us, we have taken on a writer whose novel is not yet complete! We have broken this principle because we believe we have found someone unique…

Publishers – be prepared to hear from us!

Jessica is of Scottish and Turkish heritage, is an autistic and queer writer, PhD historian, and filmmaker. Their* first novel is called Life Goes On and will tell the strange-but-true story of their Turkish grandfather Aycetin. In the nineteen-forties and fifties, after his father died, Aycetin had to try to survive within the institutions and on the streets of Istanbul.

Life Goes On melds 19c realism with magic and fairytale, it opening a window onto early republican Turkey, from the point of view of a young boy.

Jessica has previously written for publications such as The National Student and Den of Geek founder Simon Brew’s Film Stories. They contribute videos on everything from autism to fire arrows for BBC’s The Social, have appeared on BBC Scotland’s Loop, and are in the post production stage of their first short film, ‘The Constant Companion’.

A self-proclaimed “wee angry goth,” they love to write in any fashion, do historical reenactment, and hang out with their German Shepherd Freya. They can be found at: jessicasuaka or their history blog Past Caring on Facebook, at @JessicasuAKA on twitter, or jessicaakas on Instagram. However, all communication regarding literary representation and/or publication should be directed via this agency.

Jessica mentioned, as an afterthought, “Oh I have a first from the University of Glasgow and a distinction in MScR History at Edinburgh too…”

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*This agency supports people’s right to use gender non-specific pronouns.

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Meetings, greetings, and web-sitings!

Constance Tonge

This week I had the great pleasure of meeting, once more, our client Constance  Tonge, whose novel Wisp is getting closer and closer to its date of publication. Constance is a prolific author, and is working on more novels, which the agency will take a look at. Be on the look-out for Wisp when it appears – it’s a corker!

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I also travelled in to Edinburgh to meet Luka Vukos, who directed the prizewinning short Lose like a Human, all about artificial intelligence. We had a long chat about  possible projects for the future. Edinburgh has been much on my mind lately, because I have to arrange visits to events at The Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I have all that to look forward to, but Time’s winged chariot isn’t exactly hanging about!

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Meanwhile, Lyz Russo has just announced on her blog that P’kaboo publishers in the Republic of Ireland have a revamped web site. It has a look of the old one, but it has now been made phone-friendly. Again, it’s a case of “Watch this space,” because P’kaboo will be launching a series of books very soon – mainly fiction, but one very important work of non-fiction. At least I’d say it was. More news as and when it happens.

Paul

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Please note that the appearance of random advertisements on this web site is a feature of the platform, and should not be taken as an endorsement by this agency.

 


James Tait Black Prize shortlist announced.

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This year is the centenary of the UK’s oldest literary award – the James Tait Black Prize. I had the privilege to be one of the readers for this year’s prize, and it was gratifying to see that one of the books I read and reported on, Murmur by Will Eaves, has been placed on the shortlist of four titles from which the winning book for the fiction prize will be chosen. I have to admit I was very hard on the book in my report to the judges, but I’m glad that they were able to support it. I’m looking forward to attending the prizegiving at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.


Another author’s contract chased down!

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Shaun Harbour is a forty-three-year-old Scot, the only male in a household of wife + two children + two cats, a poet and cartoonist, and a writer who wishes day jobs didn’t have to exist! As a tenor in the Scottish Police and Community Choir, he has performed for royalty, flash-mobbed at T In The Park, and sung on the streets of New York. As a contestant on TV’s The Chase, he says, he was destroyed by chaser Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett. At least being there he got to meet ‘Graham’ from Doctor Who  (quizzmaster Bradley Walsh)!

Shaun has written and illustrated a story book for young children. It’s called The Robin and the Wish, and it is a bittersweet fable about loneliness and love. If you shed a tear at Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, then you will at this too. It does have a happy ending…

We have just closed a commercial publishing deal for Shaun, and the publisher wants to hurry the book out in time for Christmas 2018. That’ll be some sprint, but really this is a children’s book for all seasons. We wish Shaun every success!

The Robin and the Wish image

This isn’t what the cover will look like, by the way – we just thought it would be nice to have one of Shaun’s illustrations here to remind you of the title. 🙂


‘Miura’ by the late Hector P Cortes to be published!

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We are delighted to announce that a contract has been signed, for a commercial publishing deal that allows an intriguing and exciting novel to be published. The author, Hector P Cortes, was a musician who had worked in Spain, Austria, France, Italy and the UK. He was honoured by the London College of Music in which he studied, being given an Honorary Fellowship for “distinguished services to the art of music”. He was invested a Knight of the Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (Templars) for the same reason, and rose to the rank of Knight Commander. He is mentioned in Baron’s Who’s Who; the 500 Great minds of Europe, and was an honorary member of the University of Malaga. He was a conductor, accompanist, soloist, recording artist, lecturer, and also Founder and Bandmaster of the Regimental Band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

hpcc-300When Hector decided to retire as a musician and devote his time to writing, he settled in the quiet rural town of Westbury, in Wiltshire. His wife Johanna, a soprano who has sung all over Europe, and has been given rave reviews by the Press everywhere, also decided to retire along with him. His death was a great loss to his family, and to this agency.

Miura: A story of Spain  traces the life of two boys – one a doctor’s son the other a Gitano – from the aftermath of the Spanish Civil war until the death of the dictator Franco. Part romance, part adventure, part political, part historical, the novel depicts injustices of Spain during the dictatorship. The Gitano‘s story is a rags-to-riches one, as he becomes a famous bullfighter; his story is not a happy one, however. The doctor’s son becomes one of Spain’s top surgeons, and learns at first hand the dangers of being too close to the dictator. A riveting read, it is ideal for a general adult readership.

With many thanks to Hector’s widow, Johanna, and his daughter, Daniella, the reading public will at last gain access to this wonderful book!


Launches and relaunches in Ireland and South Africa

By now you’re all well aware that P’kaboo Publishers has relocated from South Africa to Ireland, and is gearing up for big things. Amongst them is a writing contest for children between the ages of 8 and 18. So if you’re a young person living in Ireland, or you know someone who is, then take note and watch this space… because we’re watching their web site, and as soon as the rules are published we’ll let you know.

We do already know that amongst the prizes will be getting a story published in a book, along with all the other winning stories. And there will be a wonderful launch party in Cobh, Co. Cork.

Meanwhile, Pkaboo has retained an associate back in South Africa. Professional editor Les Noble, whom many of our clients have used, has taken over marketing and promoting their books in their ‘old country’, added to which he has started his own imprint – Noblest Publications. As you can see from the handbill below, he has planned a series of events in the city of Durban, including one that re-introduces Carmen Capuano’s excellent novel Split Decision.

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Publishing deal! Update.

Students-at-St-Andrews-Un-007The agency is very pleased to announce that it has secured a commercial publishing deal for its client Constance Tonge, in respect of her debut novel, Wisp. , set in and around St Andrews University in Scotland.

Over the next few weeks, Constance will be working with the publisher’s editors, polishing the manuscript and getting it ready for publication. She has several more books in the pipeline, ranging from fiction to academic non-fiction, and the agency hopes to keep representing her literary efforts with equal success.

More news in due course. For now, well done Constance!


“Reading ‘Split Decision’ is the best decision you can make.”

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Jack Woodward

Recently broadcaster Jack Woodward came across a copy of Carmen Capuano‘s novel Split Decision. Here’s what he had to say about it.

I thought this was a compelling and enthralling read, from beginning to end. We’ve all had ‘sliding doors’ moments in our lives ( though not many with quite such dramatic consequences I hope! ), and the two parallel stories were superbly and sensitively told.

 Lots of surprises, twists and turns along the way and excellent use of language to convey the emotions, also covering a range of issues, from friendship to family, loyalty to jealousy.

 For the whole book to be based on a time period of less than 24 hours was a challenge but it worked well, written in such an intelligent way that flitting between the two narratives is in no way confusing for the reader, it actually helps build the suspense.

splitI’m one of those people who likes to read a couple of chapters a night but I just couldn’t put this one down and had to keep going right through to the nail biting finale. Riveting and remarkable, this author really knows how to get you right on the edge of your seat.

 In fact, reading Split Decision is the best decision you can make.

 


A conversation with Sarah Dunant

1Paul writes:

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a public conversation between Dr. Monica Azzolini and historical novelist Sarah Dunant, at the School of History, Classics & Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, and of speaking to her briefly afterwards. The event was primarily a promotion for the most recent novel in her series dealing with the Borgias – In the Name of the Family.

Sarah Dunant cut her literary teeth writing ‘thrillers’ which, she said, taught her the art of storytelling. She is a historian by education, and loves historical research. Research, when produced for academic consumption, however, tends to be published by university presses and remains within the academic sphere, with an academic readership. Fiction, on the other hand, liberates the subject to a wider readership, and while Sarah does not write instrumentalist novels, she is well aware that her readers are learning whilst enjoying an absorbing novel. So she makes sure that her research is exhaustive.

3It has often been said before when it comes to history – “Where are the women?” We have the impression, due to ‘taught’ history seeming to be a procession of great men, great battles, great events, that half the world’s population is invisible, and that this invisibility is somehow uniform throughout history. Sarah presents Renaissance women to us in her novels – in convents, as courtesans, at court – living unexpectedly rich and varied lives, even though they may be distanced from direct involvement in the ‘great events’. Lucrezia Borgia is almost invisible, except for the gossip put around by enemies of the Borgias. Pinturicchio’s depiction of St Catherine of Alexandria may be the closest we have to a portrait of her, but as a dynastic asset she was arguably as important as her father Rodrigo and her brother Cesare. Although she was only thirty-nine when she died of natural causes, she outlived them both.

Sarah Dunant, who says she is always “willing to take on the real history,” read to us a passage from her novel, describing the process of serving as a witness to the consummation of Lucrezia’s marriage at Ferrara. There was no description of the bride’s feelings and thus no kowtowing to the stereotypical idea that women writers ‘do’ feelings, but rather an account of the ‘bodily bureaucracy’ that goes with a dynastic match.

2In the Name of the Family introduces to Sarah’s readers to a young Florentine diplomat – Niccolo Machiavelli. This is a name that often strikes a chill – after all, the adjective that derives from his name is used to describe the ruthless and amoral wielding of political power – but a recent book by Erica Benner, Be Like the Fox, reveals a staunch believer in republican liberty and a scrupulous recorder of the realpolitik of Renaissance Italy. Sarah’s portrayal of him is that of a relative youngster, who has a wife back home who seems quite fond of him, and who worries about whether his attire is smart enough for his surroundings, whether his doublet is straight, and so on. He is a man who has been chosen for his diplomatic job because he shows much promise, but the wily observer has yet to emerge. Writing The Prince is many years ahead.

To Sarah Dunant the Renaissance is an era of “red hot modernity.” She is well aware that its cruelty and beauty are not two separate aspects of the time, but are interwoven, along with all the daily banalities.

I would like to thank Sarah Dunant, Monica Azzolini, and of course the University of Edinburgh for hosting the event.

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Courtesy note: Sarah Dunant is represented by Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd.