Bookseeker Literary Agency

Introducing authors and publishers.

Difficult poetry and the Russian Revolution.

Some interesting reading on various blogs recently. Our client Marie Marshall had a little to say about difficult poetry, after which her colleague Daniel Paul Marshall – I’m assured that they’re not related – took the subject a little further. Any of you who are interested in poetics might find the discussion sets you thinking.

sosoAlso Marie recently blogged her short story set a few years before the Russian Revolution, the centenary of which is this year. Who is the mysterious ‘Soso’? Would we recognise in him one of the famous persons of the twentieth century?

By the way, if you have not read Marie’s poetry collection, I am not a fish, I am told that copies are still available from Oversteps Books. The collection was nominated for the 2013 T.S. Eliot Prize, which gives you some idea of how good it is!

Attention screenwriters!

You may recall that in January 2015 we called for a screenwriter to help turn the short story ‘Axe’, by our client Marie Marshall into a drama for TV, or even a movie script. The story, told in a mix of Glasgow and Caribbean-British registers, follows a girl who has just moved from London to Glasgow, and who joins a ‘girl-gang’. The story sees everything through her eyes, and is strung together in a kind of stream-of-consciousness narration.

Following that appeal, a screenwriter was found. He and Marie have been collaborating on developing the script – he preparing the actual script, she providing extra narrative material – and between them they have fleshed out the protagonist and the supporting characters. The story that, hopefully, will eventually appear on screen somewhere, has grown well beyond the original short story, and is becoming a gripping drama with strong female characters.


image: Mercury Press Agency Ltd.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen personal circumstances, the screenwriter has had to be excused from the project, and it is unlikely that he will be able to return. Along with Marie Marshall, we are exploring the way forward, and one possibility is trying to find another screenwriter to take over. That writer would have to ‘hit the ground running’, as there is a lot of pre-exisiting material to work with.

Are you that screenwriter?

The project is a speculative one, by which we mean that no payment can be guaranteed unless and until the finished script is taken up by a production company. Marie herself has waived any income, settling for the exposure of having her name credited as the originator of the story and provider of additional narrative, so royalty payments etc. would accrue to the screenwriter(s). This agency would be responsible for approaching production companies and would take its standard commission.

If this project appeals to you, please get in touch with us.

‘Winter Words’ under way

Well, it is almost Carnival time...

Well, it is almost Carnival time…

In case you’re wondering where this gorgeous carnival mask came from, it’s on sale at the shop in Pitlochry Festival Theatre. The theatre itself is always well worth visiting. As well as the auditorium with its dramatic and musical events, there is the shop, the bar, a restaurant, and an exhibition of paintings. At present the annual Winter Words festival – Scotland’s first literary festival of the year – is under way. It finishes next weekend, the 21st and 22nd of February, so if you are in or near Scotland, there is still time to plan a flying visit. You may be lucky and get a ticket for one of the events, but don’t forget there are also bookstalls and free events in the Theatre.

One of the free events is the late-evening ‘Fearie Tales’ session, where actors Helen Logan and Dougal Lee read the stories of the eight winners of the year’s competition for spine-chilling fiction. Paul has been to two of these so far, to support clients who have been among the winners, and oh what tales he has heard! A hen-pecked husband finds a replica of his boyhood home down a Scottish lane, where it has no right to be; a young woman captured by a dragon-worshiping cult; a boy encounters the fairies that have ‘tidied’ his lonely family life, and wonders whether to ask for the sister he never had; an Australian scientist goes looking for voices on the top of a remote Scottish mountain…

There will be four more next weekend. Go along, and prepare to be terrified!

Winter Words 05a

Helen Logan reads ‘Voices’ by Marie Marshall – Dougal Lee obviously knows something she doesn’t!


By the way, Paul hopes to be at the StAnza poetry festival in St Andrews from the 5th to the 8th of March, so look out for him there.

Marie Marshall and Lucy P Naylor do it again!

We have just this minute learned that our clients Marie Marshall and Lucy P Naylor have both had winning short stories in this year’s ‘Fearie Tales’ competition, at the 2015 Winter Words festival in Pitlochry. Lucy’s story ‘The Dragon Stone’ will be featured on Friday 13th (!) and Marie’s ‘Voices’ on Saturday 14th. Here’s how Marie broke the news. Both writers received emails within minutes of each other, it seems.

The picture below is actor Helen Logan, who will be reading both stories.


Can you write a TV script?

If you can write a TV script, you might consider joining a project to turn one of our clients’ short stories into a TV drama. The story is urban, violent, and set in Glasgow. You need to be confident working with the vernacular of Glasgow and also with Caribbean-British ways of speaking. If you’re interested, please get in touch. Your message will be acknowledged, but it may be a while before we come to any final decision.


By the way, Paul is now on Linkedin on behalf of the agency, and welcomes connect requests.

‘Fearie Tales’


Each January “Scotland’s literary year gets into gear” (said The Scotsman) with the prestigious Winter Words festival in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. There are performances and workshops in poetry, history, fiction, memoirs, there are stories of places and people, of travel and exploration, and so on. One of the most popular events is the reading each evening of macabre short stories, with a Scottish flavour. Lights are dimmed, voices are hushed, as these Fearie Tales are read by professional actors. Scottish actors Martyn James, Helen Logan, Deirdre Davis and Dougal Lee have done the readings, the current partnership being Helen and Dougal.

Dougal Lee

Dougal Lee

Fearie Tales is a competitive contest – contestants submit their stories to the Festival, and the winners’ stories become the highlight of each evening’s entertainment. Our clients Lucy P Naylor and Marie Marshall are invariably in that number, Lucy’s tales being a particular favourite of the Artistic Director, or so we have heard. In 2010 the climax of Marie’s story The Place of Safety drew gasps from the audience; and during the reading of Lucy’s darkly humorous Cold Feet the audience “laughed in all the right places”, she said. Lucy’s story Betwixt and Between, read by Helen Logan again, started the telling of tales in 2011.

Helen Logan

Helen Logan

In 2013 Marie and Lucy were amongst the winners again, with Lucy’s Knit One, Pearl One being featured during the opening weekend of the festival, and Marie’s On The Platform during the final weekend. Lucy’s story was one of her typically humorous ones, telling how close nightclub life is to a total zombie apocalypse, while Marie’s told of a ghostly encounter at a railway station late at night – but of the two people meeting, which one was the ghost?

In 2014 the whole festival was rounded off with Marie’s chilling story with a Shetland flavour, Da Trow i’ da Waa, in which an author with writer’s block rents a cottage on the island of Yell – a cottage made from stones taken from two haunted houses, but before that from somewhere even more sinister.

Some of Lucy’s and Marie’s short stories, including Lucy’s Betwixt and Between from 2011 can be found in an anthology called Mercury Silver, published by P’Kaboo. The collection contains stories in all kinds of styles by other writers too, and is well worth downloading for your Kindle…

Marie and Lucy compete in Fearie Tales every year, along with some of Scotland’s and the UK’s finest short-story writers. Winter Words is always worth a visit. Guests have included Michael Portillo, Brian Blessed, Sally Magnusson, Tony Robinson, and many other names from literature, politics, and the media. Why not have a mid-winter break in the Scottish Highlands, and combine it with a week of entertainment and culture? Authors and short-story writers should keep an eye on Pitlochry Festival Theatre in December and January to find out about this competition.