The Mslexicon weekend will bring together some of the most experienced literary agents, editors, career mentors and writing tutors in the UK, hand-picked for the depth of their knowledge and their commitment to supporting women writers. You’ll be able to dig into their considerable amount of writing knowledge through talks, panels, workshops and individual 1-2-1s – or even in the moments in between. You can find out more about each of our experts below.

Click here to book your Mslexicon weekend ticket.

 

mslexicon_clarealexander CLARE ALEXANDER, LITERARY AGENT
Clare Alexander is Chair of Aitken Alexander Associates literary agency and one of the founders of the (then) Orange Prize for Women’s Fiction. She has been an agent for over two decades, following two decades as an editor and publisher at the highest level at Viking, Hamish Hamilton and Macmillan. Authors she represents include literary and commercial authors Pat Barker, Diana Evans and Sarah Dunant and, though her list is crowded, she is always open to exceptional and surprising new voices – particularly in narrative non-fiction.

 

Diana Beaumont DIANA BEAUMONT, LITERARY AGENT
Diana Beaumont was Senior Commissioning Editor at Transworld before she started agenting in 2011 with Rupert Heath Literary Agency. She was tipped one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2012 and joined Marjacq in 2017. Diana represents both fiction and non-fiction for adults and is looking for upmarket women’s commercial fiction, accessible literary fiction, high-concept crime and thrillers. In non-fiction, she enjoys memoir, funny feminists, cookery and anything with a strong voice – especially by under-represented authors.

 

Alison Boyle ALISON BOYLE, ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND
Alison Boyle provides literature advice on behalf of Arts Council England for individuals and organisations in the North West and North East regions of the country, including literary festivals, independent publishers, reading and writing development projects and ‘literature+’ (i.e. multimedia and digital literature projects). Prior to her current role she worked as an editor and publisher of books, magazines and online content; and for five years on international awards for digital technology. Find her on twitter @papercroissant

 

Stephanie Butland STEPHANIE BUTLAND, AUTHOR
Stephanie Butland has written two memoirs and five novels since beginning her writing career in 2010. Her novels include Lost for Words, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae and The Woman in the Photograph. Stephanie Butland is also one of only 40 Master Trainers in de Bono thinking methods worldwide. Psychologist Edward de Bono invented the term ‘lateral thinking’ and revolutionised approaches to problem solving. Stephanie is an expert in thinking skills and creativity and unique in her ability to apply her insights to writing – and to life.

 

Arabel Charlaff ARABEL CHARLAFF, PSYCHOLOGIST AND WRITING TUTOR
Arabel Charlaff is an accredited psychotherapist who teaches on the WPF Therapy diploma course in psychodynamic theory and practice, and has worked in the NHS, in education and private practice. Before training as a therapist she worked for over a decade as a ghost-writer, editor and literary consultant. She is the founder of Characters on the Couch, a service that uses psychoanalytic theory to help writers bring their characters to life. She loves reading novels just as much as she loves reading Freud.

 

Julia Churchill JULIA CHURCHILL, LITERARY AGENT
Julia Churchill joined AM Heath in 2013 to run the children’s department, following four years building up the UK side of the Greenhouse Literary Agency, and six years at the Darley Anderson Agency, where she started the children’s book part of the list. She considers herself lucky to represent some fabulous writers, but is always on the lookout for new talent. She is looking for début and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture-book texts up to YA fiction. Please note: Julia’s 1-2-1 sessions are for children’s writers only.

 

Sarah Cleave SARAH CLEAVE, COMMA PRESS 
Sarah Cleave joined Comma Press as Publishing Manager in 2017, where alongside sales, production and editorial roles, she has recently taken over co-ordination of the Northern Fiction Alliance, a publishing collective of 11 established independent publishers committed to showcasing the creativity, risk-taking and diversity that sets Northern publishers apart. Prior to this she was Publishing Manager at Saqi Books and Telegram, where she oversaw the production, sale and distribution of literary fiction and non-fiction internationally.

 

Therase Coen THÉRÈSE COEN, LITERARY AGENT 
Thérèse Coen’s first agenting job was with the Ed Victor Literary Agency, learning from one of the most renowned agents in the UK. From there she moved to Hardman & Swainson, where she is building her own list of authors and using her multilingual background to sell translation rights. She has eclectic tastes and is looking for Middle Grade and YA fiction (especially fantasy, adventure and sci-fi) as well as adult fiction (particularly historical and crime fiction, and foreign settings) and non-fiction (especially memoir, travel and cooking).

 

Isabel Costello ISABEL COSTELLO, AUTHOR 
Isabel Costello is a novelist and short story writer with a background in marketing and communications. Her début novel Paris Mon Amour was published in ebook by Canelo and later in paperback under a new Literary Sofa imprint named after her influential literary blog. Isabel’s candid posts on her challenging and unusual journey to publication have attracted a wide audience, inspiring her to become involved with the WoMentoring Project and to develop the ‘Resilient thinking for writers’ workshop in partnership with Voula Tsoflias.

 

Elise Dillsworth ELISE DILLSWORTH, LITERARY AGENT 
Elise Dillsworth was a commissioning editor at Virago Press and set up her own literary agency in 2012. Her authors list include Yvonne Battle-Felton, Irenosen Okojie, Yewande Omotoso and Ilmar Taska. She represents both literary and commercial fiction; in non-fiction, she is especially interested in memoir, biography, cookery and travel writing. She co-founded the Diversity in Publishing Network in 2005 and has served as a judge for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the Bocas Fiction Prize and the Northern Writers Awards.

 

Julie Fergusson JULIE FERGUSSON, LITERARY AGENT
Julie Fergusson began her publishing career in 2012, working as a freelance editor with Avon, Birlinn, Bookouture, Canongate, Polygon and Quercus. She became an agent in 2017 with the new North Literary Agency, which specialises in Northern voices and writers. Julie is building a list of commercial and literary novels and is particularly interested in reading-group fiction, psychological thrillers, women’s fiction, YA, and anything with a speculative or dystopian twist. Find Julie on Twitter at @Julie_Fergusson.

 

Rosie Garland ROSIE GARLAND, AUTHOR
Rosie Garland is a novelist, poet and performer whose work includes the novels The Palace of Curiosities, Vixen and The Night Brother – as well as singing in cult gothic band The March Violets and strutting her stuff as her alter-ego Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. The Times has described her writing as ‘a delight: playful and exuberant… with shades of Angela Carter’. She has won the DaDa Award for Performance Artist of the Year, the Diva Award for Solo Performer, and a Poetry Award from the People’s Café, New York. www.rosiegarland.com

 

Maggie Gee MAGGIE GEE, AUTHOR
Maggie Gee has written 13 critically acclaimed and controversial novels, including Blood (2019) (‘laugh-out-loud’, Guardian), The Ice People, My Cleaner, My Driver and The White Family. Her memoir of her life as a woman and a writer My Animal Life came out in 2011. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and has an OBE for services to literature. Her novels have been translated into 15 languages and shortlisted for the Orange (now Women’s) Prize and the International Impac award.

 

Nina Grunfeld NINA GRUNFELD, LIFE COACH
Nina Grunfeld is internationally recognised as the successful creator of Life Clubs. She is also known for her compelling and entertaining public speaking, her intuitive and forward-moving one-to-one sessions, her Get a Life column in the Daily Telegraph and her practical best-selling books. Through Life Clubs, her series of 50 self-improvement workshops, Nina has changed the lives of individuals from every walk of life and helped teams at a wide range of corporate clients, including FTSE 100 companies and the NHS.

 

Sophie Hannah SOPHIE HANNAH, AUTHOR
Sophie Hannah is a bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 49 languages and 51 territories. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Hannah published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a top-five bestseller in more than 15 countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels. She has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry, including Pessimism for Beginnners which was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award.

 

Alison Hennessey ALISON HENNESSEY, BLOOMSBURY (RAVENS BOOKS)
Alison Hennessey began her editorial career working on the Penguin Classics list. After 11 years at Random House, where her authors included bestsellers Jo Nesbø and Ruth Ware, she moved to Bloomsbury in 2016 to set up the Raven Books imprint, which specialises in literary suspense, thrillers, mysteries and crime writing. Her authors at Raven Books include Laura Purcell, author of the award-winning ghost story The Silent Companions and Stuart Turton, whose début The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle won the Costa First Novel Award.

 

Kerry Hudson MICHELLE HODGSON, WRITER, EVENTS MANAGER, MC
Michelle Hodgson is Events Manager at Mslexia and Director of the Huddersfield Literature Festival. Michelle worked in publishing for many years at Macmillan, Macdonald, Little Brown and at Midas PR. She then spent several years as a journalist on the Guardian before setting up a copywriting business. In 2012 she relaunched the Huddersfield Literature Festival, since a finalist in the W2Y White Rose Awards and winner of an Examiner Community Award. In 2013, Michelle featured in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List.

 

Kerry Hudson KERRY HUDSON, AUTHOR AND FOUNDER OF WOMENTORING
Kerry Hudson’s first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma won the Scottish First Book Award and was shortlisted for Guardian, Authors’ Club and Polari first book awards. Her second, Thirst, won the Prix Femina Étranger. Her new non-fiction book, Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns, investigates what it means to be poor in Britain today. Kerry is founder of The WoMentoring Project, which pairs experienced publishing professionals with emerging women writers.

 

Sara Hunt SARA HUNT, FOUNDER OF SARABAND
AAfter working in publishing in London and New York, Sara Hunt founded the Saraband independent publishing house in 1994. Saraband gradually moved away from being a non-fiction ‘book packager’ to specialise in narrative non-fiction and literary fiction, with a sister imprint for mystery and dystopian fiction. The company’s awards include two successive ‘best début’ Saltire Society awards and a Man Booker shortlisting. Sara is particularly interested in literary, women’s or crime fiction (but not graphic/exploitative), and any non-fiction, especially memoir/personal stories (but not short stories, children’s/YA or supernatural/SFF).

 

Jackie Kay JACKIE KAY, AUTHOR
Jackie Kay is a multi award-winning novelist, short story writer, memoirist, poet and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her collection The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize. Her novel Trumpet won the Guardian Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC award; her memoir Red Dust Road won the Scottish Book of the Year Award, and the London Book Award. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to literature and became Scotland’s Makar (Poet Laureate) in 2016.

 

Danuta Kean DANUTA KEAN, WRITER AND PUBLISHING EXPERT
Danuta Kean is a widely respected journalist and creative industries commentator, published chiefly in the Guardian, where she curated the publishing and agenting strand of the Guardian Masterclass series. She has edited four influential reports on diversity in the arts, including Writing the Future for Arts Council England/Spread the Word and Centre Stage for the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. She helped establish the publishing strand of the Brunel University creative writing MA and is a popular speaker at festivals, universities and schools.

 

Zoe King ZOË KING, LITERARY AGENT
Before joining AM Heath, Zoë spent 15 years as a literary agent at Darley Anderson and The Blair Partnership. She specialises in non-fiction and is looking for writers who can help us see more, think better and live richer lives. In feminism and politics, food and memoir, comedy and humour, she admires writing that makes a deep and immediate connection with readers and that illuminates the times we live in in fresh and unexpected ways. Currently she is particularly interested in social issues, big ideas and ‘behind the scenes’ books.

 

Lina Langlee LINA LANGLEE, LITERARY AGENT
Lina Langlee began her career in publishing in various roles at Canongate and Black & White Publishing. She is now a literary agent with the highly commercial – and Bookseller Rising Star – Kate Nash Literary Agency. Based in Edinburgh, Lina is actively building a list of authors, focusing mainly on writers of romantic fiction, crime and any genre of YA. She is relishing the trend for feel-good ‘uplit’ and is keen to see love stories that cross a cultural divide. She’s also interested in crime series, contemporary issue-driven YA and creepy gothic novels.

 

Claire Malcolm CLAIRE MALCOLM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF NEW WRITING NORTH
Claire Malcolm is the founder and CEO of New Writing North, set up to support new, emerging and established writers in the North, and created many of its flagship projects, including the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional and the Gordon Burn Prize. Claire is also on the board of indie publisher And Other Stories and Editorial Director of Mayfly publishers – and is a seasoned host of literary events. Claire has an MA in Leadership from City University and consults regularly for Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.

 

Emma Paterson EMMA PATERSON, LITERARY AGENT
Emma Paterson was selected as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2018, the same year she joined Aitken Alexander Associates. She previously worked for five years at Rogers, Coleridge & White, following time at The Wylie Agency. Emma is currently looking for character-driven literary novels that demonstrate an energetic engagement with the world we live in, and contemporary short stories with a strong sense of place. In non-fiction, she is particularly interested in cultural history and social justice, as well as business, lifestyle and beauty.

 

Meg Pokrass MEG POKRASS, AUTHOR AND EDITOR
Meg Pokrass is the author of five flash fiction collections and her work has been anthologised recently in two Norton Anthology Readers, in Best Small Fictions 2018, and has appeared in over 350 literary magazines, both in print and online. An inspirational teacher of the flash genre, Meg currently serves as Flash Challenge Editor at Mslexia, Festival Curator for Flash Fiction Festival UK (Bristol), Co-Editor of Best Microfiction 2019, and Managing Editor of New Flash Fiction Review.

 

Charlotte Robertson CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON, LITERARY AGENT
Charlotte Robertson was an agent for five years at Aitken Alexander and United Agents, where she achieved publishing deals for two of Mslexia’s novel competition finalists. She has also held senior Sales and Marketing Director roles at S&S, Penguin, Macmillan and Headline – and most recently Faber & Faber. In 2019 she launched her own literary agency, Robertson Murray, with Hilary Murray of talent agency Arlington Management. Charlotte is currently building her list and looking for commercial/literary crossover fiction.

 

Jane Rogers JANE ROGERS, AUTHOR
Jane Rogers has written 10 novels, including The Testament of Jessie Lamb, winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award 2012 and longlisted for the Man Booker prize. Other works include Mr Wroe’s Virgins (which she dramatised as an award-winning BBC series), and Promised Lands (Writers Guild Best Fiction Award). Her story collection Hitting Trees With Sticks was shortlisted for the 2013 Edge Hill Award. Jane also writes radio drama and adaptations, has taught writing at postgraduate level for many years and is Professor Emerita at Sheffield Hallam University.

 

Jenny Savill JENNY SAVILL, LITERARY AGENT
Jenny Savill is a Director of Andrew Nurnberg Associates literary agency, where she has worked for 16 years and represents many award-winning authors. Her professional tastes are eclectic, and include children’s and YA fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, suspense, historical fiction, and (occasionally) narrative non-fiction. She’s not keen on fantasy, but does enjoy stories with a subtle speculative (sci-fi) thread. She’s looking for submissions that demonstrate originality, depth, and the ability to move and surprise.

 

Clare Scott CLARE SCOTT, WRITING THERAPIST
Clare Scott is the Chair of Lapidus, the ‘words for wellbeing’ organisation whose members use creative writing tuition for therapeutic purposes in education, health, community, voluntary, private and public sectors. Clare is a trained counsellor and poetry therapist, has a doctorate in creative writing and her career has included work in autism, social work and sexual health. Clare will be on hand on Friday and Saturday in our special drop-in counselling and chill-out room – to talk through anything that is troubling or delighting you. (No booking necessary.)

 

Hayley Steed HAYLEY STEED, LITERARY AGENT
Hayley Steed is an agent at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency, building a list of adult fiction and non-fiction. She is actively seeking new talent in commercial fiction across all genres, including contemporary women’s fiction, uplifting love stories, high-concept novels, grounded sci-fi, speculative fiction, gothic novels, horror, feminist reads, magical realism, tense crime and thrillers, cross-genre books, true crime and compelling memoirs, and non-fiction focused on sport and female voices.

 

Linda Strachan LINDA STRACHAN, AUTHOR
Linda Strachan is the award-winning author of over 70 books and former Chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland. She writes for young adults, middle grade and picture books, including the bestselling Hamish McHaggis series. An inspirational speaker at conferences, universities, libraries and schools in the UK and as far afield as Cairo and New Zealand, Linda’s essential handbook Writing for Children (updated 2019) covers all areas of writing for different age-groups in this buoyant area of publishing.

 

Sarah Such SARAH SUCH, LITERARY AGENT
Shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2017, 2014 and 2013, Sarah founded the Sarah Such Literary Agency in 2007, a thriving London-based independent representing bestselling literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction, YA and children’s. Her previous roles in publishing have included Publicity Director at Penguin Books UK, Senior Editor at Hodder & Stoughton and Editorial Director at Duckworth. She was a judge on Mslexia’s 2017 Women’s Novel Competition. You can follow her on Twitter at @sarahsuch

 

Debbie Taylor DEBBIE TAYLOR, AUTHOR AND EDITOR OF MSLEXIA
Debbie Taylor is the founder and Editor of Mslexia. She has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues. Her many books include My Children, My Gold (Virago), a travelogue about single mothers, The Fourth Queen (Penguin), a novel set in a harem in 18th Century Morocco and Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery. Debbie is also an inspirational writing tutor whose workshops and online Pitch and First Paragraph surgeries have transformed the fortunes of many writers.

 

Tara Tobler TARA TOBLER, EDITOR, AND OTHER STORIES
Tara Tobler is the principal editor at And Other Stories, an independent not-for-profit publisher of innovative contemporary writing, which is part of the Northern Fiction Alliance. Many of the books Tara has edited have made it onto prize lists . She is also a writer, reviewer, and mother of two young children. And Other Stories is committed both to publishing women’s voices, and voices from the North and last year launched the Northern Book Prize in association with New Writing North.

 

Voula Tsoflias VOULA TSOFLIAS, AUTHOR AND PSYCHOLOGIST
Voula Tsoflias is an author of fiction, non-fiction and children’s picture books, and a corporate psychologist who specialises in the identification of obstacles to goals, and how to overcome them. She is an expert in the current hot topic in her field: the development of the skills of psychological resilience. Voula’s début novel Honor’s Shadow was published by Karnac in 2011. She is a contributing author to The Psychology Book, published by DK in 2012, and winner of the British Psychology Society Book of the Year award.

 

Jo Unwin JO UNWIN, LITERARY AGENT
Jo Unwin runs the JULA literary agency that represents bestselling and début authors. In a previous life, Jo had a career as an actress and TV scriptwriter (credits include Byker Grove and My Parents are Aliens). She moved into agenting at Conville and Walsh in 2008 and within three years was nominated as a Bookseller Rising Star and shortlisted for Agent of the Year. Jo does not have strict submissions criteria, but represents authors of literary fiction, women’s fiction, YA and Middle Grade fiction, comic writing and narrative non-fiction.

 

Margaret Wilkinson MARGARET WILKINSON, PROSE, STAGE AND RADIO WRITER
Margaret Wilkinson is a prose, stage and radio writer. Her short stories have been widely published, her plays toured around the UK, and her radio plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She recently retired from her role as Senior Lecturer on the MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, where she taught fiction and script at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Margaret is a regular contributor to Mslexia and is author of our Mslexia Minis ebooks on Writing for Radio and Writing Short Stories.

 

Laura Williams LAURA WILLIAMS, LITERARY AGENT
Laura Williams joined Greene & Heaton in 2018, having worked at Peters Fraser & Dunlop for seven years. She represents a wide-ranging list of fiction and non-fiction authors and is actively expanding her list. Laura is currently looking for literary fiction, edgy commercial fiction, psychological thrillers and high-concept contemporary YA, as well as narrative non-fiction of all types. Her taste is quite dark, and she loves gothic, ghost stories, horror and anything sinister – especially unusual book projects that can be succinctly pitched.

 

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