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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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.


Reviews, and news from Edinburgh Book Festival moving

Paul writes:

After several years writing event reviews for an Edinburgh-based organisation, I am now working as a freelance. I’ll be publishing my reviews on my occasional blog for light academic and other articles. But I’m also available if anyone else would like to engage me to write for their publication.

Also I’ll be moving my annual photo album of the Edinburgh International Book Festival from this site to the same place, so please feel free to follow the blog.

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This agency works hard for its clients, often going further than many established agencies go on their behalf. It is therefore very irksome when an established publishing house does not bother with the courtesy to reply to a letter, even though a stamped envelope was included for their convenience. How much time does it take to pop a compliment slip into an envelope?

Then there is the major publishing house that does reply, but has on three occasions sent us an identical letter in reply to ours. The letter is the standard one they send to authors, advising them to get an agent, ignoring the fact that it was an agent that wrote to them in the first place! What is more, they have ignored letters pointing that out. It is discourteous, and actually plain damned negligent. Thankfully there is only one publisher in the whole UK that does this. We’re saying no more for now, but next time we’re considering simply naming them!

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There have not been many updates here lately. This does not mean there’s nothing happening. We’re working towards at least one book launch before the end of the year, for example. Keep watching this space.


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.


An uncompromising writer, an uncompromising subject, and a chance for a daring publisher!

It is unusual for the agency to flag up a book before it’s even written, but these are unusual times! And having said that, it’s a work of non-fiction, so bringing it to the attention of publishers whilst it is still a project is quite legitimate.

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Dr. Uwe Schütte

First of all, let us introduce the author, Dr. Uwe Schütte, Reader in German at Aston University. Already widely published in German and the author of more than fifteen academic monographs and trade books on pop music, he has recently made a foray into the English language market with W.G. Sebald, an introduction to the writer –  his PhD supervisor during his student years – in Northcote House’s ‘Writers and their Work’ series, now appearing with Liverpool University Press. His excellent introductory collection/edited volume German Pop Music: A Companion appeared in 2017 and he has also been asked by Penguin to produce a general introduction to Kraftwerk, the German pioneers in electronic music, which should be on the bookstore shelves in 2019.

In 2015, Uwe in conjunction with the artistic project Der Konterfei brought out a book in German about the alternative performer/artist/occultist/personage Genesis P-Orridge, and it is the English re-writing of this book that is the project for which we now want to give advance notice!

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 20.49.12Godstar: The twisted path of Genesis P-Orridge, will take hold of the reputed inventor of industrial music, adherent of Magick, and transsexual(?), and treat its subject to a critical appraisal that is certainly no hagiography. The writer finds Orridge uncompromising but not always convincing. The book traces that twisted itinerary from the extremist performance collective COUM, via Throbbing Gristle (the industrial band who managed to put at least one record in the collection of every unsuspecting punk in the late 1970s), via the band Psychic TV, via the foundation of the pagan sect Temple ov Psychick Youth, to the relationship with dominatrix Jaye Breyer and the invention of ‘pandrogyny’ in which Jaye and Genesis aligned themselves surgically into a single identity. If you are wondering why this update studiously avoids gender pronouns, that’s why! Jaye died tragically young in 2007, and Genesis is now terminally ill…

As noted above, this is no hagiography. Uwe is both deeply fascinated by and highly critical of Orridge, praising his unique and  uncompromising art but questioning personal attitudes, statements, and actions at the same time. Because of  this stance situated between worship and condemnation, the German version has sold and sold and sold. So we are looking for interest in advance from a UK publisher who is willing to be daring. Fans of Orridge and people interested in his involvement in Magick will buy it, even if they find the writer’s approach challenges them. As will everybody with an interest in industrial music and Crowleyian Magick, as well as radical art in general.

Bookseeker Agency would not handle this book if it were simply a banner-waver for Orridge, Magick, and so on. The fact that Uwe Schütte is prepared to take a bold and uncompromising line with a bold and uncompromising subject is what makes us willing to present it to publishers. We are delighted and privileged to represent Dr. Schütte.

So – will that adventurous publisher be you? Please get in touch via the email address on the ‘Contact’ page


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!

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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. 🙂


Eloise Hellyer: An opportunity for publishers of musical books!

The agency is acting for longstanding violin teacher Eloise Hellyer‘s book aimed at teachers of musical instruments. The book, working title Inspired Teaching, is currently out at selected specialist publishers. However, if you’re a publisher, and you happen to be reading this, and you are interested, then please do get in touch and ask to hear more about the project.

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Eloise with her first pupil – her daughter – here aged 3.

Eloise is a violin teacher who lives and works in central Italy. Born in Chicago, she studied the violin privately with Edgar Muenzer, Hannah Armstrong and Ludwig Schmidt. She has a B.A. in Greek and Latin from Beloit College and did graduate work at Loyola University in Chicago which she interrupted when her first baby/student was born.

Eloise started teaching her own children when she moved with her family to a remote part of the Middle East where there were no music teachers. She took method courses whenever she could get to England. When the family returned to Italy, others asked her to teach their children, too. She started working on this project almost twenty years ago when a student’s father, film score composer Randall Meyers, strongly suggested she do it. Eloise is also a life coach, mentor and the author of the award winning Violin Teacher’s Blog.

“Teaching is a spiritual activity,” she says.

It certainly takes the dedication that declaration suggests, to avoid the pitfalls of teaching or learning an instrument. Asked why her book was necessary, Eloise said:

Musical instrument teachers have the most intense one-on-one and long term relationship with students, more than any other teacher in a child’s life. But are these teachers prepared for the task? Sadly, not really. Many are trained performers who teach out of financial necessity and may quickly find out that there’s a lot more to teaching than just giving information.

What is teaching, anyway? What are the principles behind it?  And, most importantly, how do you avoid ruining your students? 

The aim of this book is to save children from the didactic experimentation and inexpertise of young – and even older – music teachers, and save them years of confusion, by giving lots of practical advice.

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Eloise patiently guiding a young student.


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 successes and other news.

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Okay, we’ll allow ourselves that little bit of levity…

Since the agency announced a few days ago that our client Constance Tonge had signed a contract for a commercial publishing deal, things have started to move in a big way here. Let’s summarise what has been happening.

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Gamon

Firstly, publishing contracts have been signed by to other clients. Joshua Gamon’s The Brothers Thanatos was described by the publisher with the words “Wow, what a riveting story!” Well, we can attest to that – it’s an absolute blinder of a tale, and we can’t wait to see it published. Also Marie Marshall has signed a contract for her collection The Last-but-one Samurai and other stories. Marie’s publisher intends to relaunch her teen-vampire novel From My Cold, Undead Hand at the same time as the sequel KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE is published, both with newly-designed covers. There’s also talk of a relaunch of her 2010 collection of poems, Naked in the Sea.

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Cortes

Contracts are currently being negotiated with the estate of the late Hector P. Cortes for his novel Miura, and with the collective known as ‘The Firm’ for its non-fiction book Walk Proud, to be published in 2019 to mark the 50thanniversary of the media ‘discovery’ of the Skinhead movement.

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Shand

Meanwhile we have a publisher looking at Michael Shand’s Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, a cracking thriller set in the mean streets of Edinburgh.

And lastly, the ‘Bookseeker’ of Bookseeker Agency himself, Paul Thompson, has achieved an MSc With Distinction in ‘Literature and Modernity’ from the University of Edinburgh, and will be looking for a PhD place in 2019.


‘Walk Proud’ – Skinhead manuscript is going out to publishers!

2019 will see the 50th anniversary of the year when the word ‘Skinhead’ hit the UK media. In time for that semicentennial, ‘The Firm’ – a group of people who were there when it all kicked off – converse with each other, and respond to questions. What was it really like in 1969?Skins2

Bookseeker Agency frontman Paul Thompson was invited to be the editor for the book, although it really was a collective effort. BBC Radio6 DJ Don Letts has promised a foreword in due course – you may have seen Paul on Don’s 2016 documentary The Story of Skinhead on BBC4, as he was there back in the day too!

Walk Proud tackles such issues as

Did Skinheads evolve from the Mods?

What was the link to the American ‘Ivy League’ style, and where did Skins get those button-down shirts and wing-tip brogues?

Was it all boots and braces and football?

Were there run-ins with Greasers, the Old Bill, and South Asians?

Drugs or booze?

What did Skinhead girls really wear?

Yell – the invention of the modern fanzine, or a mistake that never got off the ground?

Race and politics.

Was Skinhead essentially a London thing?

Slade or Desmond Dekker – what was the true ‘sound’ of Skinhead?

Skinheads and the media – “Do they mean us?”

They don’t always agree with each other, but their conversations bring out details which might otherwise have been lost to social history. That’s one of the main reasons why the book has been put together. The media, both reportage and drama, have been getting things wrong almost since day one, from Softly Softly Task Force to Inspector George Gently, and later copycat movements have turned the whole thing into a para-political travesty. So this book is a vital piece of that social history.

The book is now going out to publishers. But if you’re a non-fiction publisher and you’re reading this and you think you can market it, don’t wait for us to get in touch with you

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The artwork and images in this article are not necessarily from the book.