Agent: Sarah Ballard
I studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University and Publishing at Oxford Brookes University before starting my publishing career in editorial at Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton. I was In House Editor at PFD from 2000, working across the agency's client list to develop and support every sort of writing, and particularly with the legendary agent Pat Kavanagh. I began working solely as a literary agent in my own right in 2008 with the creation of United Agents, which I helped to establish. I have held the position of Treasurer to the Association of Authors' Agents and in 2020 was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Agent of the Year.
I have a busy list and am being extremely selective about what I take on: I would hope to take on around 3 new authors in the coming year. I have extremely broad taste in fiction and non-fiction, but the underlying quality of the work that I’m interested in is a sense of urgency, and an attempt to make a change in the world, whether that is fiction with a compelling plot or structure overlaying a set of big ideas; memoir-ish non-fiction flavoured with obsession and unfolding a hidden agenda; or meticulously researched history which changes our world view. I have a particular interest in feminism and feminist approaches - but exploring ideas or angles which are completely new to me is one of the great joys of my job. I prefer to work with writers who are more-or-less based in the UK, and are aiming to deliver a book every one or two years, and for whom I can add something to every area of their creative lives.
I’d prefer to consider your work only when a draft is complete rather than reading work-in-progress (since rereading with clarity is complicated). Please send me the whole book, plus a (more or less) page-long synopsis giving me the full arc of the book, in the first instance. Please give me a sense of your experience of writing so far, and tell me why you think we would be a good match for each other, too.
I don't represent YA or children’s books, and I’m probably not the right person for submissions of Sci Fi or Sagas (though I’m prepared to be surprised).
Following a period away from the office in 2022, I’m concentrating on work for my existing clients at the moment. I would love to be bowled over by a submission I absolutely can’t resist, in the meantime – but please don’t be offended if I’m not able to reply.
To submit to Sarah Ballard, please follow our submission guidelines, which can be found here.